It's Raining Fish and Spiders

BOOK: It's Raining Fish and Spiders
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• Contents •
• Author's Note •

I haven't had a bad day since the doctor slapped me on the behind!

I have been very fortunate and blessed. I was fortunate to be raised by my loving, caring grandparents, and blessed by the grace of God to be where I am in life today. I have also been very fortunate to have met some truly great human beings along the way—people who helped me with my career. Others, devoted to meteorology, were of great help to me in the creation of this book.

I want to begin by thanking two people who believed in me enough to give me the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that led me to where I am today: the late Don Partridge of what was then WDA L AM/FM radio and Bob Holland, weatherman and station manager of WTOK-TV, both in Meridian, Mississippi.

The radio job Don gave me when I was thirteen years old laid the foreground for my broadcasting career. I hung around the station and learned how to be a true broadcaster: reading news, weather, and sports; playing music; ad-libbing live commercial copy; and doing live radio remotes. Thanks to Don and his son, Mike Partridge, for all that training and for beating me into shape.

Bob Holland gave me my first television job when I returned to Meridian after college. He was the first TV weatherman in our town—and he spent his whole career there. He could have easily moved on to one of the bigger networks but he chose to homestead in Meridian. Bob had a deep, deep, bass voice that was tremendously soothing and comforting to hear coming from the TV when tornadoes were threatening to destroy our town. I wanted to be just like Bob, and I was lucky that he became my mentor. I would drop by and visit/pester Bob about being a weatherman when I was in high school. He gave me incredibly valuable advice about career and job choices, and went on to give me my first chance in TV news. Thanks, Bob, you'll always be my hero.

The other person I want to thank is Stewart Kellogg, currently general manager of WAPT-TV in Jackson, Mississippi. When Stu filled the main weather position while he was news director at WALA-TV in Mobile, Alabama, he whittled the list of candidates down to two—me and some other guy. It was a tight contest and Stu kept playing both audition tapes to anyone who would watch, even the teller at his local bank!

To my eternal gratitude, he eventually chose me! Stu was a great boss and a great person. He taught me a lot about broadcast TV and truly launched me toward my career in New York City. See, I told you I was blessed and fortunate. Surround yourself with great people and you'll go far in your career and in life.

Next, I want to thank Melissa Ann Singer of Tor/Forge Books for her amazing editing, encouragement, and foresight. She loves weather, is a weather junkie like me, and is a sweetheart. There is not a dog on Earth that would bite her. She is the best—as are all the staff at Tor who have been so wonderful to me and such visionaries on this project. In a meeting about my first two novels,
Category 7
and
Frozen Fire
, I mentioned my desire to do this book. They didn't even bat an eye, just jumped right in on the project. They shared my commitment to publishing a great, fun book on extreme weather for kids.

This is a big dream of mine, to write an exciting book about weather to excite a new generation of future meteorologists. The people at Tor/Forge have no idea what they've unleashed!

Special thanks to all these people at Tor/Forge, who helped my dreams become reality: Kathleen Doherty, Susan Chang, and Juliet Pederson of the young adult publishing division, without whom this book would not exist; Seth Lerner and Vanessa Paolantonio, who designed the cover for this book; Pauline Neuwirth and Nathan Weaver of production; Phyllis Azar and her talented team in ad/promo; Alexis Saarela in publicity; and everyone in sales and marketing, especially the sales reps who got this book into your hands.

And of course, my undying thanks to Linda Quinton, vice president and associate publisher, and Tom Doherty, president and publisher, who have supported me since my very first steps into the world of book publishing.

I want to thank my lovely wife, Dana, who was also an editor on this book. Dana's an Ivy Leaguer who is much smarter than me. She offered me fantastic input. She also helped keep the kids away so I could bury myself in this project.

To my agent, Coleen O'Shea, “The World's Greatest Book Agent,” thanks so much for believing in my ideas. You are so supportive and have been fantastic for my publishing career. Thanks for getting me the millions in advance money for the book! You know I'm kidding—it was really billions!

Now I want to mention all the people who have been of amazing assistance in getting this book done. First, I must thank all the people I talked to at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), who helped me at every turn. They responded quickly to every e-mail and every request. They are the ultimate source for weather information or information on the oceans and the atmosphere. NOAA is also the main source for the pictures in this book, most of which come from the NOAA Picture Library.

They are the best in the world at what they do, and if you take a moment to look at their Web site,
www.noaa.gov
, and materials for learning, you will see why. They really want kids to understand how weather works and they, too, like me, are on a mission to inspire kids to become our next generation of great meteorologists and atmospheric scientists. If you are looking for a great career in weather, you want to get in touch with these folks.

I want to thank the National Weather Service (NWS) for all the years of help they have given me in my career. In my infancy as a weather forecaster, I would go down to the weather service offices in Meridian and Jackson, Mississippi, and the folks at the NWS would teach me about weather. They gave me personal weather briefings that I used in my broadcasts. The NWS is an invaluable asset, and the people there have helped immensely with this project, answering my requests with speed and tons of information. You guys, too, are the best in the world.

I want to thank the Hurricane Hunters for not only taking me on some great rides, but also for returning me home safe and sound! The entire world relies on the Hunters to get the information necessary to make accurate hurricane predictions. You should be commended for your tireless sacrifices as you track monster storms and save lives.

I want to thank Christopher C. Burt, author of
Extreme Weather,
and Jack Williams, author of
The Weather Book
. These fantastic books were
extremely
helpful to me when I was putting together this
extreme
weather book. You should add their books to your collection along with mine. Thanks also go to Kenneth Libbrecht, whose work with snowflakes is the best in the world.

When I started looking for pictures for this book, I was amazed at the number of people who would let me use their pictures for free. Of course, we gave everyone credit and sent them a copy of the book, but that doesn't seem like much in exchange for their amazing pictures! So I want to thank everyone again—everyone who gave us pictures as part of our endeavor to teach children about the beauty and awe of weather. You should feel very proud about sharing your love of weather with kids, and inspiring them to get excited about the atmosphere. Thanks also to Susan Berkoff for helping me find all the photographers and artists.

I also want to thank the greatest graphic artist since Picasso. Okay, so Picasso wasn't a graphic artist, but Frank Picini is. He made all the great and easy-to-understand graphics in the book. Frank has been doing graphics with me for more than twenty years. He is not only a great designer and artist, but he understands weather! Weather is complicated and Frank makes it a whole lot easier.

Finally, I want to thank the kids. I have been talking to students about the atmosphere for more than thirty years. Kids love weather. They are mesmerized by it. They sponge it up. I love watching their eyes light up when we talk about storms.

I hope this little book inspires you to become some of our next great meteorologists and atmospheric scientists. We need you to keep moving weather forecasting and research forward. We need you to continue to study the skies, help educate the masses, and excite future generations of meteorologists all over the world.

Finally, my advice:

Walk softly, and carry a big umbrella….

BOOK: It's Raining Fish and Spiders
12.19Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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