Severe and Hazardous Weather in Canada: The Geography of Extreme Events
by Cathy T. Conrad
Many weather books available in Canada on specific topics such as severe weather are often written by authors from outside the Canadian borders and perhaps only focus a chapter specifically on Canada. It is thus refreshing to see this book by Professor Cathy Conrad, Program Advisor, and Department Chair in the Department of Geography at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her book Severe and Hazardous Weather in Canada: The Geography of Extreme Events deals specifically with Canadian severe weather in all its manifestations. floods, drought, lightning, tornadoes, hail, blizzards, ice storms, heat and cold and even fog.
I found the material encompassed in this book to be very wide in scope, the author includes fog and black ice topics not typically found in books on severe weather, though nonetheless often a greater hazard on the national scale over a year than tornadoes and hurricanes. She also focuses on local weather hazards such as the Wreckhouse winds of Newfoundland. In addition to the whats and wheres of severe weather, Conrad discusses severe weather forecasting in Canada. The final chapter “Canadians and Weather: Vulnerability, Risk, Adaptation and Mitigation” is an important look at how we as a society and as individuals assess and react to severe and hazardous weather conditions. It could well be the focus of a complete course on hazardous weather.
The prime intention of this book is as a textbook for university students, and it admirably fills that purpose. I would consider it as a text were I teaching such a course. Although intended for students in higher education, it is also an easily understood book that could find a far-reaching audience in the lay community as well as a place on the shelves of all Canadian meteorologists. The book is well illustrated, including many maps of the climatology of severe weather events across the nation. If the book has a drawback, it is its textbook price which may scare away readers outside academia, particularly in these slow economic times.
Overall, I give Severe and Hazardous Weather in Canada: The Geography of Extreme Events high marks and recommend it for any meteorological library.
Severe and Hazardous Weather in Canada: The Geography of Extreme Events by Cathy T. Conrad, 2009, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195426274, Paperback, 256 pages.
Review written by Keith C. Heidorn, PhD, THE WEATHER DOCTOR,
February 17, 2009