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Freaks of the Storm: From Flying Cows to Stealing Thunder: The World's Strangest True Weather Stories

3.2  ·  Rating details ·  125 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
In the course of his numerous talks and presentations to college and grade school students, civic clubs, and nursing homes, climatologist Randy Cerveny found that people of all ages are fascinated by the "unusual"—and he seized on that fascination to tell them about strange weather. Now, in his first book, the rest of us can learn of real, documented stories such as these: ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 29th 2005 by Basic Books (first published December 1st 2005)
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Kevin L.
Dec 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
Ok, here's what I've decided.

This really is an excellent read, however, it's not one that you should sit down and read like a novel. After a bit of time it became tedious and never really drew me back in.

It's a collection of weather oddities from around the world relating to heat, hurricanes, tornadoes, the works. Each chapter has 13 sections and the last section is always how to survive. So, it really did become rather tedious!

A great read, if done right and spaced over time.

So, anyone want it?
...more
Jamie Z.
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fascinating run-through of weather and weather events. Easy enough for the lay person to understand but detailed enough for the meteorology nerds to enjoy.
Fishface
Jan 17, 2016 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed these zany stories -- and there were so many of them! I have to say tis book needed very serious copyediting before it was released on an unsuspecting public; the author repeatedly uses "plummet" as a transitive verb, spells the same name differently each time he uses it in the same paragraph, and makes liberal use of redundancies liked "recorded weather records." Those are only quibbles, of course. The rain of Lemmings in Alaska was worth the price of admission all by itself, b ...more
Susan Olesen
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
Meh? Nowhere near as interesting as it should have been. The author tries to stick too hard to a 13-section profile for each chapter, never once mentions rogue waves. Tiny little tidbits, sometimes without proper explanation, too many places of intrusive bits that have nothing to do with the topic that I would have been marked down for in college, and so much of the stuff is ancient, so that it is speculation and leads one to wonder how the weather now could possibly be considered strange. If yo ...more
James
Jun 09, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who care
Whirlwinds. Giant hail. Rains of live fish. Two by fours driven through bridges. What's not to like in this book? Well, the author's writing style, for one. Instead of relying on his meteorology students to help with this assemblage of weather phenomena through the ages, he should have added an English major to the team. Some of his word choices and other gaffes are downright laughable, but if you are not an effete intellectual snob it is a veritable treasure trove of fascinating atmospheric fre ...more
Julie
Jul 25, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who like not short but tiny stories
This book is enjoyable if you have a very short attention span, like to be shocked, but don't need to know *why* something happened. You're not going to get any answers really, on why it rained alligators or why some portion of snow was bright blue, etc. but it does have a vast collection of weather oddities. Probably the vastest collection of weather oddities. Kind if worth looking at--I read it cover to cover.
Laura
Apr 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
We've been having our usual spring weather (grapefruit-sized hail, tornadoes, flash floods, etc.) when I found the book in the school library. It seemed like an appropriate read so I checked it out.

It's a dry read but just because it's dry it doesn't mean it's uninteresting. It's also thick these two characteristics will disinterest the average middle school student. But I can also see a few weather trivia buffs totally getting into it.

I'm glad I read it.
Tippy Jackson
This author obviously loves the field. That was the major redeeming factor in this book. I enjoyed the parts where it was suggested that certain weather events changed the course of history and how. Also the parts that discussed weather in religious texts-although I will note that they talked about "Greek myths" and "Islamic legends," but when he's writing about the bible, it is "the first documented case of..." Just sayin'.
Maria
Sep 16, 2010 rated it liked it
I actually haven't finished this book; it's incredibly dense and while interesting, it reads more like a reference book. There are hundreds of interesting weather stories packed in here, but the font is so small and the stories are so numerous that it's better off to read in small doses. I'm sure I will pick this up again in the future and read a bit more.
Eilish
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
This books was interesting enough but just strangely written and kind of tedious to read it felt like a college essay or something.
The interest in the weather phenomena the author obviously has just didn't really show through in his writing. I learned some stuff and there were some interesting anecdotes but I wouldn't recommend it.
Took me like a month to read!
Kara Immel
May 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a fabulous book by a Arizona State University Professor who has compiled interesting (freaks) occurrences of storms. Things from lady bugs stuck in hail to fish and frogs raining down on a city. Some gross stories and some cute stories.
pianogal
Sep 07, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: weather, tornado
I was really hoping this one was better than it was. The author approached a weird topic too scientifically. The stories were dull and lifeless, not to mention, fairly short. If the author had written them more like stories than like entries in the encyclopedia, it would have been better.
Jennifer W
Mar 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting. A quick read full of random bits of trivia, most of which will probably quickly fall out of my brain. Nothing earth-shattering contained herein, but fascinating if you're a weather geek like me.
David Ward
Feb 04, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Freaks of the Storm: From Flying Cows to Stealing Thunder: The World’s Strangest True Weather Stories by Randy Cerveny (Basic Books 2005)(551.6). This is a collection of the strangest weather stories of all time. My rating: 6/10, finished 2006.
Julie
Nov 24, 2009 rated it liked it
not super well written, but fun stories for weather fans like me.
Bethany
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, weather, weird
some fun stories, some interesting, but mostly they just blur together into a big mash-up of severe weather. I think the author was trying too hard when he chose to do 13 sections in each chapter.
Beka
Mar 28, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: science
Finished the lightning chapter.
Kimberly
Mar 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: anyone interested in weather.
Just randomly picked this book off the shelf. It was okay. Some boring parts, some interesting stories.
Jenn
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book. Very comprehensive and scientific, yet fun to read at the same time. Highly recommend.
Keith Veeder
rated it it was amazing
Jan 07, 2014
Joanna
rated it it was amazing
Jan 07, 2016
Niccole
rated it it was amazing
Aug 17, 2011
Joshua
rated it liked it
Jan 18, 2009
Jessica
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May 17, 2014
Nick
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Dec 07, 2012
Anastasia Sillaway
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Karen
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Jan 22, 2012
Sasha
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Jul 25, 2007
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