The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 75, July 1971 - April, 1972

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Tornado: Texas Demon in the Wind. By Dudley Lynch. (Waco: Tex-
ian Press, 1970. Pp. xi+x63. Illustrations, appendices, index.
$7.95.)
Tornado: Texas Demon in the Wind is not a book on meteorology.
Neither is it written by a meteorologist nor specifically for meteorolo-
gists. It is an account of people and places; people, most of whom
have never met, and places whose only link is an unfortunate and, in
most instances, disastrous meeting with one of nature's most destruc-
tive forces-the tornado.
Lynch does a masterful job of weaving personal tragedy with
community action in this history of Texas tornadoes. The vivid
descriptions of events and circumstances spawned by these storms
captures one's imagination, making it easy to overlook some of the
minor technical flaws. The statement that a hurricane is a cyclone
(page 67), for example, could cause the eyebrows of some meteor-
ologists to raise slightly. Also, in describing the development of
thunderstorms, phrases like "the rising air soon supplies its own
energy" (page 75) may leave less scientifically inclined readers
scratching their heads for an explanation. The statement (page 85)
that "sea-level pressure gives a barometer reading of 29.92 inches
of mercury" will surely be recognized as misleading by the astute
weather observer who watches highs and lows move across the daily
weather map.
The purpose of the book, however, is to tell a story-a story of
man's helplessness in striving to cope with the fury of an enraged
atmosphere. The story is documented by eye witness accounts of per-
sons who survived the tragedies at Waco, Dallas, Wichita Falls, San
Angelo, and Lubbock, cities that have become synonomous with
tornado to Texas storm observers. While these storms represent the
more recent vintage of Texas tornadoes, the state was not immune
in earlier days. Names like Cedar Hill, Emory, Cisco, Glazier, Hig-
gins, Amarillo, and Goliad will no doubt recall memories for many.
It is unfortunate that the author did not include a map of Texas
for reference in locating the storm occurrences.
A discussion of the past and present philosophy of the Weather
Bureau in forecasting tornadoes is an interesting study in group
psychology. It is only in the last twenty years that the fear of unduly
alarming a community has become secondary to the necessity of a
warning when conditions suggest the possibility of tornadoes.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 75, July 1971 - April, 1972. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101201/. Accessed July 28, 2014.