As we focus our attention on a safe and healthy reopening of our country, we are also being reminded that it is hurricane season and of the importance of being prepared for these storms.
The federal government’s annual hurricane forecast for the Atlantic Ocean , predicts a 60 percent chance of an above normal hurricane season (running June 1-Nov 30) due to a combination of several climate factors. Whereas a typical hurricane season has 12 named storms, this year’s season is expected to have between 13 and 19.
The ebooks/audiobooks listed below detail hurricanes and other storms—both real and fictional—that upend people’s lives and destroy their homes and make for fascinating and terrifying reading. What can be noted is that while the characters are battling the fury of nature, they are simultaneously battling enemies on other fronts such as poverty, racial and social disparities, and dealing with their own internal and mental distress.
We also learn that even in the face of immense hardship, people respond in heroic, creative and resilient ways, and there is surely some inspiration here for us in our continuing battle with the global pandemic.
Caught in the Path of Katrina: A Survey of the Hurricane’s Human Effects by J. Steven Picou & Keith Nicholls
Drawing on the accounts of more than twenty-five hundred Katrina survivors, two researchers provide a rare longitudinal look at the hurricane’s financial, social, psychological, and physical impacts.
Chasing the Storm by Ron Miller
Whenever severe weather threatens, storm chasers hit the road to hunt for tornadoes, hurricanes, or violent storms. Some drive thousands of miles in just a few days as they follow a storm system from Iowa to Texas. Others serve their cities and towns by taking photos from their backyards and phoning in storm details to local weather stations. Specially trained Hurricane Hunters hop into aircraft packed with scientific instruments to fly deep into powerful hurricanes, hoping to reach the eye of the storm.
In the tradition of the best investigative journalism, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs 5 days at Memorial Medical Center, a New Orleans hospital ravaged by Hurricane Katrina and draws the reader into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and maintain life amid chaos. After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several of those caregivers faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths. Fink exposes the hidden dilemmas of end-of-life care and reveals just how ill-prepared we are for the impact of large-scale disasters—and how we can do better.
The Great Hurricane, 1938 by Cherie Burns
In an age before warning systems and the ubiquity of television, this unprecedented storm caught the Northeast off guard, obliterated coastal communities, and killed seven hundred people. The Great Hurricane: 1938 is a spellbinding hour-by-hour reconstruction of one of the most destructive and powerful storms ever to hit the United States. With riveting detail, Burns weaves together the countless personal stories of loved ones lost and lives changed forever – from those of the Moore family, washed to sea on a raft formerly their attic floor, to Katharine Hepburn, holed up in her Connecticut mansion, watching her car take to the air like a bit of paper.
Hurricane Hazel In The Carolinas by Jay Barnes
Hurricane Hazel swept the U.S. Eastern Seaboard in mid-October 1954, eventually landing in the record books as one of the most deadly and enduring hurricanes. After punishing Haiti with mudslides that killed hundreds, Hazel edged northward, striking the Carolina coast as a ferocious category four. Landfall occurred near the South Carolina-North Carolina border, where a massive surge washed over barrier beaches and swept away hundreds of homes. Coastal communities like Myrtle Beach, Long Beach, Carolina Beach, and Wrightsville Beach caught the brunt of the storm tide and suffered heavy damages, When it was all over, Hazel had killed more than 1,000 and left a trail of destruction across the hemisphere.
Hurricane Katrina: The Mississippi Story by James Patterson Smith
This book presents the fullest account yet written of the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Rooted in a wealth of oral histories, it tells the dramatic but underreported story of a people who confronted the unprecedented devastation of sixty five thousand homes when the eye wall and powerful northeast quadrant of the hurricane swept a record thirty-foot storm surge across a seventy-five-mile stretch of unprotected Mississippi towns and cities.
We’ve all seen the ruin that a hurricane can bring. No one can stop a hurricane, but proper preparation can limit damage, protect long-term finances, and even save lives. The Hurricane Preparedness Handbook is an invaluable, step-by-step guide for everyone who lives in a region threatened by these terrifying storms. Here is advice on: Understanding the category warning system; Buying the right insurance; Protecting your home from an oncoming storm; Choosing and using an electrical generator; Proper provisioning and use of food and water ; Dealing with a storm’s aftermath and much more!
Isaac Cline was a scientist who believed he knew all there was to know about the motion of clouds and the behavior of storms. The idea that a hurricane could damage the city of Galveston, Texas, where he was based, was to him preposterous, “an absurd delusion.” However in August 1900, Galveston would endure a hurricane that to this day remains the nation’s deadliest natural disaster. In Galveston alone at least 6,000 people, possibly as many as 10,000, would lose their lives, a number far greater than the combined death toll of the Johnstown Flood and 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.
And Cline would experience his own unbearable loss. Meticulously researched and vividly written, this book is based on Cline’s own letters, telegrams, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the hows and whys of great storms. Ultimately, however, it is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets nature’s last great uncontrollable force. As such, Isaac’s Storm carries a warning for our time.
The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea by Sebastian Junger
It was the storm of the century, boasting waves over one hundred feet high—a tempest created by so rare a combination of factors that meteorologists deemed it “the perfect storm.” In a book that has become a classic, Junger explores the history of the fishing industry, the science of storms, and the candid accounts of the people whose lives the storm touched. This is a real-life thriller that makes us feel like we’ve been caught, helpless, in the grip of a force of nature beyond our understanding or control.
In 2005–06, Julie Angus, with her fiancé Colin, rowed 10, 000 kilometers across the Atlantic Ocean, becoming the first woman in the world to travel from mainland to mainland in a rowboat. The 145-day journey gave Angus, a trained scientist, a unique perspective on the ocean. The slow-moving boat became an ecosystem unto itself, attracting barnacles, dorado fish, trigger fish, turtles, sharks, whales, birds, and more, which she was able to observe and document.. Four cyclones, including two hurricanes, hammered the small boat so intensely that Angus and her companion weren’t sure they would survive.
The Storm of the Century: Tragedy, Heroism, Survival, and the Epic True Story of America’s Deadliest Natural Disaster: The Great Gulf Hurricane of 1900 by Al Roker & William Hogeland AUDIOBOOK
On the afternoon of September 8, 1900, two-hundred-mile-per-hour winds and fifteen-foot waves slammed into Galveston, the booming port city on Texas’s Gulf Coast. Blending an unforgettable cast of characters, accessible weather science, and deep historical research into a sweeping and dramatic narrative, this book brings this legendary hurricane and its aftermath into fresh focus.
Exploring the impact of the tragedy on a rising country’s confidence—the trauma of the loss and the determination of the response, Roker also underlines the fact that no matter how mighty they may become, all nations must respect the ferocious potential of our natural environment.
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
The true story of one family, caught between America’s two biggest policy disasters: the war on terror and the response to Hurricane Katrina.
Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun run a house-painting business in New Orleans. In August of 2005, as Hurricane Katrina approaches, Kathy evacuates with their four young children, leaving Zeitoun to watch over the business. In the days following the storm he travels the city by canoe, feeding abandoned animals and helping elderly neighbors. Then, on September 6th, police officers armed with M-16s arrest Zeitoun in his home. Told with eloquence and compassion, Zeitoun is a riveting account of one family’s unthinkable struggle with forces beyond wind and water.
Here are a few novels where hurricanes are important to the story or are set in a hurricane prone region:
Hurricane Punch by Tim Dorsey
Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton
The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank
In the Path of Hurricanes by Ann Bezayiff
Miss Julia Weathers the Storm by Ann B. Ross
Moon Tide by Dawn Tripp
Rushing Waters by Danielle Steel
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
Under a Dark Summer Sky by Vanessa Lafaye
-Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian