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Review of Eye of the Storm: NASA, Drones, and the Race to Crack the Hurricane Code

Eye of the Storm: NASA, Drones, and the Race to Crack the Hurricane Code [Scientists in the Field]
by Amy Cherrix
Middle School    Houghton    73 pp.
4/17    978-0-544-41165-4    $18.99

When thirteen-year-old Angela Dresch walks out on the Staten Island Beach on the afternoon of October 29, 2012, neither she nor readers know that in a few hours she will be one of the “53 people in New York who lost their lives to Hurricane Sandy.” Because Sandy was designated a (seemingly innocent) Category 1 hurricane, it lulled thousands of individuals into complacent decisions to ride out the storm in their own homes. Beginning the book with this singular human tragedy introduces and personalizes the work of scientists located on Wallops Island, Virginia, trying to understand and forecast a storm’s intensity in order to create maximum time to inform at-risk residents if or when they need to evacuate. Cherrix provides clear and informative background on storm formation before turning to a 2014 mission in which NASA pilots, operating the Global Hawk drone, photograph and release sensors transmitting information from a developing storm off the coast of Africa to data interpreters thousands of miles away in Virginia. Biographical information on a variety of scientists, ranging from meteorologists to aeronautical engineers, creates a number of entry points for potential readers. A final, slightly rushed chapter points out the political consequences of the 1970 cyclone in the Bay of Bengal and 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, then concludes with a remembrance service for Angela Dresch, bringing the book full circle. Appended with instructions on how to prepare for hurricanes, a glossary, recommended further reading and websites, a bibliography, and an index.

From the July/August 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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About Betty Carter

Betty Carter, an independent consultant, is professor emerita of children’s and young adult literature at Texas Woman’s University.

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