November 11, 2010

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Weather book
Josh Judge shares his love of meteorology
By Jeff Mucciarone jmucciarone@hippopress.com

WMUR meteorologist Josh Judge is back with a new book, Extreme New England Weather, on which he collaborated with several meteorologists. The book includes a never-released interview with legendary Boston forecaster Don Kent, who died in March. Judgeís first book, Weather Facts and Fun, was released about a year ago. Visit www.extremenewenglandweather.com. Judge, who will be touring all of New England, will be at the Toadstool Bookshop in Milford on Sunday, Nov. 14, at 2 p.m.; at the Borders in Concord on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 2 p.m.; and at the Nashua Barnes & Noble on Sunday, Nov. 21, at 2 p.m.

Q: Whatís your new book, Extreme New England Weather, all about?
... We have a different chapter for each type of extreme weather New England sees. Thereís a cold weather chapter, hot weather chapter, hurricanes, tornadoes and you can pretty much open it and begin anywhere you want. You donít have to read it in order. The way itís structured, each chapter talks about the type of weather and the first half is about how and why that weather happens with lots of statistics, records and explanations of the basics... The second half chronicles the biggest thing to occur in the last 100-plus years. So each storm, we give a quick recap with pictures of the damage of each of the storms. And we have many stories from either everyday people or television meteorologists somewhere in New England.

Youíre covering a lot of bases.
Yeah, it really is a complete look at the extreme weather from all sides. We explain how it works and give specific examples. And itís New England-wide, so thereís storms in southern New England, but New Hampshire certainly gets some special treatment with a lot of storms, amazing pictures. ... as well as the tornado; thereís a big section on that.

Your first book [Weather, Facts and Fun], whatís the response been to that?
Itís been amazing. It was just released in New Hampshire, and for a New Hampshire release only, the sales were amazing. A lot of schools also picked it up as a textbook, about 30 schools that weíve heard of. Because of the success of that book, thatís why my publisher urged me to do another one. It took a while to shape the structure. I knew right away I wanted to write about extreme weather and I love the history of it as well.

What was the process you went through on the new book?
Knowing that I wanted to do it on extreme weather, the question was how to do it. Just focus on big storms, just explain how it happens, focus on one particular type of storm ... I wanted to talk about Noríeasters, the rain storms, wind storms and everything that we get. So I thought about this for a good solid month. I went back and forth with my publisher and we came up with the basic structure. And I knew I wanted to include other people, everyday peopleís stories ... I knew I wanted to find a way get other people who were maybe more well-known as well. [His wife suggested] why not other TV meteorologists. Have them write contributions. I was like voila. Thatís how it came together. It features 15 meteorologists from around New England. There are different lengths for each and some of them are quite in-depth and theyíre very well-written. I really like that it gives readers an inside look at meteorologists and what their process is during these big storms. ... Itís an inside glimpse into being a meteorologist as theyíre going through a big storm.

How was it working with so many different peopleís opinions?
The hardest thing was coordinating who was going to write what. Some did it right away; others, I had to stay on a little bit. But they were all happy to do it and were excited for the project. Thereís really nothing out there that chronicles big New England storms. Nothing quite like this has been written before. Theyíre excited to be part of the book.... After I got the meteorologists involved, then I contacted the folks that run the Mount Washington Observatory. I knew I wanted a chapter on Mount Washington and that I wanted to write it. But then I thought, ďWhat if the people who live on Mount Washington write it?Ē They were excited about the idea. They got together, all the meteorologists in the Observatory, and wrote the entire chapter on Mount Washington. It gives a look at their daily lives....

How have you adapted to becoming a writer?
Certainly itís been different since the last work. I was only associated with the weather. Now that Iím writing books, Iíve been asked to talk to several schools about being an author and not because of the weather. Thatís something thatís completely new to me. It caught me off guard. It was very different. It was fun to talk about something different and to talk about the writing process.

You said you knew you wanted to write about extreme weather. Why?
Extreme weather fascinates me and many people of course .... As a meteorologist, number one, it fascinates me to watch it. I have a better idea than probably the average person because I went to school for it. I love explaining it, how and why it happens, telling fun facts that people didnít realize. ... When youíre writing a book explaining it to people, youíre able to go back to the writing many times over to make sure itís written in a way most people can understand.
óJeff Mucciarone