Landstrike is the eerily realistic story of Hurricane Nicole as it forms in the Atlantic Ocean and eventually tracks straight up the Hudson River, devastating New York City and its environs.
Landstrike is told through eyes of a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center, who's tasked with tracking the new storm as it forms off the coast of Africa in mid-September--peak season for hurricanes. The meteorologist, Daniel Chen, soons finds himself in a harrowing, white-knuckled ride aboard a "hurricane hunter" turboprop into the eye of the rapidly intensifying storm. With him on the trip is glamorous television reporter Tina Morrow, out to make a name for herself covering the latest hurricane threat.
After surviving the trip, Chen goes back to the Hurricane Center in Miami, while Morrow goes off to cover Hurricane's Nicole's rampage through the Caribbean. Taking too many chances, Morrow nearly pays the ultimate price while covering the storm's direct impact on St. Croix.
Meanwhile, using new software, Chen begins to fear that Hurricane Nicole is headed for New York City, while others at the Hurricane Center disagree. While debate rages, Charleston, SC, considered the more likely target, evacuates. New Yorkers go about their lives largely oblivious to the threat.
By the time Nicole's path becomes clear, time is short. The storm is accelerating up the coast as New Yorkers frantically try to prepare. It's too late. Advancing into the lower Hudson River as a category four storm, Nicole is moving at 40 miles per hour, similar to a major hurricane that struck Long Island in 1938, killing 700 people.
It takes just two hours for the hurricane to traverse New York City, bringing with it a devastating storm surge and howling winds that result in catastrophic destruction of the city. The fabled Verrazano Bridge collapses in the roaring winds, Brooklyn is inundated by the surge, high rises implode as wind-blown debris smashes their windows, the subway system is submerged, and trees pound into homes as they smash to the ground.
As the hurricane rapidly moves northward, New Yorkers of all stripes find themselve suddenly trying to survive in the stone age conditions of an urban jungle bereft of electricity, water, transportation and communications, while federal and state officials work frantically to bring relief to the region.
What's so great about this book is its realism. Many a story has been told of New York being devastated by giant lizards, asteroids, a volcano, evil villains, instantaneous climate change, and other unlikely scenarios. A category four hurricane, however, is not only plausible, but likely at some point in the next couple of decades. This book is a must read for disaster and emergency planners in any major city on the Atlantic coastline, as it illustrates the awesome potential of a major hurricane to bring a metropolis to its knees.
The author, Ken Bass (pictured here), is steeped in disaster literature. He carefully researched the likely timeline for and effects of a hurricane on New York. The story is so true to life that you will have to remind yourself that what you're reading isn't true.
Landstrike is currently available in both hardcover and paperback from the publisher, Xlibris Press, HERE. (Having just been released by the publisher, it will be a few weeks before it is available on Amazon or in bookstores.
Oh, if you think that photo of the author looks a little like Xcurmudgeon, you're right--they're one and the same!