The Extreme Weather Survival Manual (Review)

We have arrived at the time of year in the Northern Hemisphere,  I both love and abhor, springtime.  Sure, I love the return of song birds, the budding and flowering of plants, and warmer temperatures.  I dread the return of destructive storms containing large hail, strong winds, and tornadoes. I’ve spent too much time, in the past, in the basement waiting through tornado warnings.

Severe weather is certainly dramatic and can be fun to observe.  The approach of a thunderstorm across the plains is majestic and thrilling to witness. However, severe thunderstorms are not fun when they threaten my home and life.  I’m not a young thrill-seeking storm chaser.  I just want to live my life in relative safety while enjoying the qualities of all four seasons.

So, when I spotted Extreme Weather: 214 Tips for Surviving Nature’s Worst by Dennis Mersereau and The Editors of Outdoor Life, the book had to come home with me.  The packaging and presentation are attractive and sturdy.  The paperback’s strong “flexicover” sports metal reinforced corners. The time-lapse photograph of lightning and bold typeface are attention-getting. Inside, the pages are slick, heavy grade paper that should withstand a fair amount of abuse.  The physical construction of the book means it can be grabbed, on the way down to the basement, to read during a tornado warning, or stashed into a backpack for an outdoor field trip. There’s nothing flimsy about this book.

The author is a self-identified “weather geek”. Mersereau writes for the Washington Post as a member of their “Weather Gang”. He blogs on the Daily Kos, and is the creator of Gawker’s weather vertical, “The Vane”. Outdoor Life, as one would expect, is a magazine for people who enjoy the outdoors lifestyle. It also has a survival-themed website.

The illustration driven contents of The Extreme Weather Survival Manual, begins with a basic lesson about weather terminology and map reading. There are definitions of those arcane symbols and colors we need to know when the threat of dangerous weather is on the horizon.

The contents are divided into four main chapters,corresponding with each season. It begins with winter, then progresses into spring, summer, and fall as they occur during a calendar year.  severeweather-02

Not only are types of severe weather named, but their root causes are explained. The reader learns how to deal with the effects of each type of weather phenomenon.  There is survival advise for people who find themselves in the wilderness or on the road, and for those of us who are at home when strong weather strikes.

Because tornado season is upon those of us who live in “Tornado Alley”, I flipped to the “Spring” chapter. It begins with a general description of supercell thunderstorms, then moves into the specifics of tornadoes.  I like the graphic presentation of myths about tornado activity. We find out if an aspect is true or false.  For example, some people have been taught to open the windows if a tornado is near, to equalize the pressure between inside and outside. Actually, this is a terrible idea. Open windows make the interior more prone to wind damage and the probability that wind will tear apart the house.severeweather-03

Not only does each chapter present ways to cope with an ongoing emergency, there are tips to follow about preventing personal injury and property damage before bad weather arrives. There are helpful reminders about driving a vehicle in adverse conditions.  Most of these tips are common sense, but often forgotten.

It’s a good idea to read through the entire book in order to get an overview of probable severe weather that takes place in your particular locale and some phenomenon you may have overlooked.  I like that there are sidebar articles about unusual weather factoids. They are not only interesting, but helpful, too.

If you need help during Mother Nature’s worst aspects, be it flooding or firestorm, The Extreme Weather Survival Manual is a guide you should consider reading. The book also makes enjoyable casual reading material to place on your coffee table.

{ Extreme Weather: 214 Tips for Surviving Nature’s Worst by Dennis Mersereau and The Editors of Outdoor Life; 240 pages published by Weldon Owen; ISBN 13: 978-1-61628-953-9 }

moi1988bThe Blue Jay of Happiness quotes John Steinbeck. “I’ve lived in good climate, and it bores the hell out of me. I like weather rather than climate.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
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