Tornado Alley: Monster Storms of the Great Plains

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 2006 - Nature - 180 pages
0 Reviews
Tornadoes are the most violent, magnificent, and utterly unpredictable storms on earth, reaching estimated wind speeds of 300 mph and leaving swaths of destruction in their wake. In Tornado Alley, Howard Bluestein draws on two decades of experience chasing and photographing tornadoes across the Plains to present a fascinating historical account of the study of tornadoes and the great thunderstorms that spawn them.
A century ago, tornado warnings were so unreliable that they usually went unreported. Today, despite cutting-edge Doppler radar technology and computer simulation, these storms remain remarkably difficult to study. Leading scientists still conduct much of their research from the inside of a speeding truck, and often contend with jammed cameras, flash floods, and windshields smashed by hailstones and flying debris. Using over a hundred diagrams, models, and his own spectacular color photographs, Bluestein documents the exhilaration of hair-raising encounters with as many as nine tornadoes in one day, as well as the crushing disappointment of failed expeditions and ruined equipment. Most of all, he recreates the sense of beauty, mystery, and power felt by the scientists who risk their lives to study violent storms.
For scientists, amateur weather enthusiasts, or anyone who's ever been intrigued or terrified by a darkening sky, Tornado Alley provides not only a history of tornado research but a vivid look into the origin and effects of nature's most dramatic phenomena.

What people are saying - Write a review

TORNADO ALLEY: Monster Storms of the Great Plains

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Radical-event meteorologist Bluestein (Univ. of Oklahoma) depicts with paint-by-number clarity (albeit with a more delicately shaded and elegant end product) the lives and quirky personalities of ... Read full review

Tornado alley: monster storms of the Great Plains

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

A professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma, Bluestein lives in the heart of Tornado Alley, an area extending from northern Texas to central Nebraska that claims the highest reported rate ... Read full review


The Frontier Overhead
Catching Real Storms
Numerical Simulations Come of Age
Storm Chasing and Doppler Radar in Major Field Programs
The Importance of Portability
The State of the Art
Where We Are Headed
The Dynamic Pressure
The Effects of Momentum Transport by an Updraft in a Sheared Environment
Other Resources

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2006)

Howard Bluestein is a Professor and a George Lynn Cross Research Professor of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma and is frequently a visiting scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. He is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, and his cloud photographs have appeared worldwide in magazines, books, calendars, and museums.

Bibliographic information