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ILL Weather

March 22, 2016

What? The library doesn't have enough weather books for you? Have no fear! ILL is here!!!

It's still March Weather Madness so it's still time to talk about weather! Honestly, I’ve exhausted most of the library’s supply of books about Mother Nature and the Heavens. Good thing I run Interlibrary Loan, huh?

Don't know what Interlibrary Loan is? Well, let me enlighten you. If Nashville Public Library does not own a book (print material only – sorry no DVDs or CDs!), I can try to borrow it for you from another library. Cool, right?

So ILL opened up a whole new weather book world for me. I recently borrowed two books I’d like to tell you about:

The first one was called Category 5: the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane by Thomas Knowles. Did you know about this? I’d never heard of it until I stumbled across this book. Apparently in 1935, a Category 5 hurricane took aim at the Florida Keys and devastated Matecumbe (which is the area between Key West and Key Largo). I can’t even try to imagine predicting a storm like this in 1935. In the thirties there was no radar, no satellites, and no hurricane planes to help provide information. Forecasters knew there was a storm coming, but they weren’t exactly sure where it was and they had no idea it would be as strong as it was.

This hurricane is the strongest hurricane to ever hit the US. (It's was stronger, even than Camille.) It had winds of 185 mph – but they may have been higher because most of the recording equipment blew away at some point during the storm. And it also has the lowest pressure recorded in a landfalling hurricane at 26.35 inches – normal sea level pressure is about 30 inches.

My only complaint with Knowles' book was that he kept switching back and forth from past tense verbs to present tense verbs and this got annoying. But this story itself was sound. And, if I ever get a chance to travel to the Keys, now I’ll go with a little more history. I’ll also try not to visit during hurricane season. Yikes!

The second book I borrowed was called Storm Watchers: The Turbulent History of Weather Prediction from Franklin’s Kite to El Nino by John D. Cox. I was a little concerned that this one might be a bit dry since it was more about the science of weather than an actual storm, but he organized it really well and it still moved. Cox picked the twenty-eight men (no women, dang it) that he felt really helped shape weather forecasting in the US specifically, but also abroad. I’d heard of about half the guys – people like James Espy, John Finley, Isaac Cline and Ted Fujita. But it was fun to meet the new guys.

Like I mentioned, the book was divided into short(ish) segments that focused on each meteorologist, and there was a little overlap between the sections that helped the overall flow of the book. My biggest complaint is that there was quite a bit of science that I didn’t always completely understand. But I'm working on it...

So those are two good ILL picks if you need to get a weather fix beyond what NPL has provided. Also, if you find other really cool ILL weather books, or really any fun ILL books, I always love to discover good books about interesting topics. Everybody wins!

Happy March Weather Madness and Happy reading (don’t get blown away)…

:) Amanda

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Amanda is a classically-trained pianist who loves to read. Like any good librarian, she also has two cats named after Italian cities. Amanda spends her free time sitting in Nashville traffic, baking, and running the Interlibrary Loan office at the Nashville Public Library.

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