The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

September 4, 2009

Review: Book offers humorous explanation of weather

Anyone who works at a reference desk can tell you stories about the different types of questions people ask. Some are routine, some are a puzzle and others peak your interest, making you want to know more about the subject

I recently was asked a want-to-know-more question. The request was for information about a storm that came through Oklahoma and Missouri in November, 1911. The storm hit on Nov. 11 and spread across much of the middle of the country.

According to the Joplin Globe and Joplin News Herald (the library has the newspaper on microfilm back to March 1877), the day was warm with a “soft and balmy southern breeze.”

Things changed drastically when the temperature dropped 50 degrees in 25 minutes. The drop from a “balmy” 82 degrees at 2 p.m. to 19 degrees by 7 p.m. was accompanied by high winds, rain, hail and a blizzard.

I wondered what forces came together to produce such a drastic change and turned to Dennis DiClaudio to find some answers.

DiClaudio has written a book called “Man vs. Weather: Be Your Own Weatherman.” Easy to read and full of information, this book helped me understand how a November day can go from warm and balmy to a blizzard in just a few hours.

DiClaudio is an improvisational comedian as well as a writer, and it shows in his writing style. This look at weather is given in a breezy (no pun intended), conversational style that sometimes turns into a monologue.

He starts our introduction into weather much the same way that day went in 1911. The reader is safely enjoying this little book when a lightning bolt crashes through the roof, striking the floor in front of the recliner. The deluge of rain coming through the hole in the roof puts out the fire but then comes the wind, hail, and a tornado.

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