As the monstrous and soon to be infamous Hurricane Katrina approached New Orleans, the National Weather Service issued this dire warning: “Devastating damage expected…. A most powerful hurricane with unprecedented strength…. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks.“ Few Americans would deny the eerie accuracy of that prediction or forget the destruction wrought by that vicious storm. Extreme weather like Katrina can be a matter of life and death. But even when it is pleasant—72 degrees and sunny—weather is still central to the lives of all Americans. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine a topic of greater collective interest. America has one of the most varied and dynamic weather systems in the world. Every year, the Gulf coast is battered by hurricanes, the Great Plains are ravaged by tornados, the Midwest is pummeled by blizzards, and the temperature in the Southwest reaches a sweltering 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Whether we want to know if we should close the storm shutters or just carry an umbrella to work, we turn to forecasts. But few of us really understand the science behind them. All that changes with The AMS Weather Book. The most comprehensive and up-to-date guide to our weather and our . . .