I recently finished reading Storm Kings by Lee Sandlin. The book went through the history of the study of weather in the United States, from Ben Franklin to Ted Fujita.
Two things that struck me. First, tornadoes caused a lot of destruction, but they were largely unstudied. Even into the early 1900s, nobody was even quite sure how to describe a tornado. There was even discussion into the late 1800s on whether or not a tornado rotated or was just a wall of cloud around an extremely low pressure center.
Second, I didn’t realize how political predicting the weather could be. The Signal Corp was originally part of the military, and there were bunches of conflicts over whether or not weather prediction belonged in the civilian world or under military control.
Most importantly, this book highlighted the struggle in understanding how tornadoes form. For most of our history in the United States, tornadoes have been considered unpredictable. Not only that, it was considered a waste of time to even TRY to predict how tornadoes form. It has only been in recent history that it was even attempted.
I had a great time reading this book. Admittedly, the older history had a lot of unfamiliar characters and could be a little dense, but once I was able to place them all, it was an enjoyable read.
Thank you for reading my post.