Storm Surge

stormMoving to an area that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, I’ve been very interested in learning more about what the storm felt like in this area.  My memories of the storm are of over-preparing and then watching CNN all day with some minor rain outside.

This book is divided into two halves.  The first is the story of the storm and the second is the tie to climate change and the future of super storms.

I had hoped for a book that would help me understand what the storm felt like for those in NY, NJ, and CT.  I wanted to see behind the scenes on the communications decisions and see the impact it had on people’s lives.

It’s important to note that Sobel is a New Yorker and doesn’t seem to notice that the storm impacted any place but downtown New York.  He also lacks the ability to humanize the information, sticking to a dull narrative.  The high point was the explanation of whether the storm was going to be called a hurricane and the steps that go into local governments evacuating people.  This section has far too much meteorology for non-specialists.  Quite dull

I hoped that part two would improve.  After all, I’m concerned about climate change and its impact on the coast.  No such luck.  The book simply got more boring and somehow managed to convince me that climate change has nothing to do with extreme weather and that it won’t really impact the coast for close to 1000 years.  Poor writing and poor persuasion.

The area where the book really excelled (and why I will always be thankful for the book), was in taking care of my insomnia.  2-3 pages of this and I was out like a light.

I’m hoping that somewhere out there is a good account of what happened in those days before Sandy made landfall and of the human stories, politics, and communication behind the storm.  This is not that book.

Unless you are a meteorologist interested in the minutia around unusual storms, or are suffering from insomnia, give this book a wide berth.


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