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. 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. For Weather Channel junkies, amateur meteorologists, and storm chasers alike, "The AMS Weather Book" is an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to better understand how weather works and how it affects our lives. All that will change with "The AMS Weather Book". The most comprehensive and up-to-date guide to our weather and our atmosphere, it is the ultimate resource for anyone who wants to understand how hurricanes form, why tornados twirl, or even why the sky is cerulean blue. Covering everything from daily weather patterns to air pollution and global warming, "The AMS Weather Book" will help readers make sense of news about the weather, cope with threats, and learn how integral oceanic and atmospheric science are to navigating our place in the physical world. Written by esteemed science journalist and former "USA Today" weather editor Jack Williams, "The AMS Weather Book" explores not only the science behind the weather but also the stories of people coping with severe weather and those who devote their lives to understanding the atmosphere, oceans, and climate. The book's profiles and historic discussions illustrate how meteorology and the related sciences are interwoven throughout our lives. Words alone, of course, are not adequate to explain many meteorological concepts. To illustrate complex phenomena, "The AMS Weather Book" is filled with engaging full-color graphics that explain such concepts as why winds blow in a particular direction, how Doppler weather radar works, what happens inside hurricanes, how clouds create wind and snow, and what's really affecting the Earth's climate.