"Superstorm" (Dutton), by Kathryn Miles
It's been a weak hurricane season in the Atlantic so far, with little to worry U.S. coastal residents, but any forecaster will tell you: It only takes one storm to make a bad year.
In 2012, that one storm was Superstorm Sandy, a hurricane that grew larger even as it lost its tropical characteristics and combined with an early winter storm and blast of arctic air. The "Frankenstorm" slammed the mid-Atlantic coast with a devastating storm surge, causing an estimated $62 billion in damage and losses in the U.S., leaving millions without power and killing at least 125 people in the U.S. and 71 in the Caribbean. It's the second-costliest storm in U.S. history after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Kathryn Miles' "Superstorm" explores the human drama that unfolded in the storm's path from its late October genesis in the southwestern Caribbean through its terrifying landfall near Brigantine, New Jersey.
Miles has crafted a true narrative around Sandy's track over the Atlantic, not just a forecasting play-by-play for weather nerds. She weaves in the history of the "hurricane hunters" that fly into storms to collect data, the limits of forecasting technology and the tricks of psychology and risk assessment that sent one doomed ship into Sandy's path. Amid the drama, Miles finds ways to flesh out the forecasters, emergency responders, victims and survivors whose stories converged in Sandy's wrath, making their plight immediate and relatable to any reader, not just coastal residents accustomed to weather hype.
If no more storm threats are looming on the horizon this year that leaves plenty of time to read Miles' wise and harrowing "Superstorm" — and to get prepared for the next disaster.