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Isaac’s Storm Reader’s Guide #10

Isaac’s Storm Reader’s Guide #10
“The Devil’s Voice”, “Swells”, and “Heat”
An online version of this guide can be found at CooperHistory.com/voice -swells-heat

Summary
Pages: 117–131
In "The Devil's Voice", Captain Halsey (from the chapter "Captain Halsey's
Choice") passes a storm flag (explained on page 109) near Louisiana, but he
is confident he and his passengers will make it through any storm
unharmed. On Thursday, September 6, he concludes that the storm is a
cyclone. The storm worsens and forces him to slow down. Conditions are
extreme, with winds possibly reaching 150 miles per hour.
Meanwhile, the storm becomes one of the worst in recorded human history.
It has gone through "explosive deepening". One theory is that the storm
traveled over a current called "The Loop" after it left Cuba. What follows is
a description of the "eye" of the hurricane. This area often includes various
odd colors, sights, and phenomena.
On the afternoon of September 6, Isaac Cline gets a message from the
national office of the Weather Bureau. It states that the storm is headed
towards "central and southern Florida". Isaac returns home, believing that
no storm is headed in his direction.
In "Swells", the storm moves from Cuba to Galveston. Swells, or extended
waves that often follow major storms over the ocean, build to an enormous
size. When they reach shallow water, they build even more.
In "Heat", Captain J. W. Simmons of the steamship Pensacola plans his trip
to Florida on September 7. As he leaves, he notices that there is no storm
flag raised. Later that morning, Isaac receives another telegram. This one
instructs him to raise a storm flag warning. Later that day, a ship
commander visits the Galveston office of the Weather Bureau. Someone at
the office tells him that the storm is just an "offspur" of a storm in Florida.
That day, the storm hits ships in the Gulf of Mexico. This includes the
Pensacola, which almost sinks.

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Isaac’s Storm Reader’s Guide #10

Meanwhile, Dr. Samuel Young observes more troubling signs of a
hurricane. He walks through town, noticing that most people are town are
unconcerned. He becomes confident that a cyclone is approaching, but he
concludes that the storm is probably headed for the mouth of the
Mississippi River. That night, Joseph Cline reports the weather, which is
still unusually hot.

Outline
 "The Devil's Voice"
o Captain Halsey (of the Louisiana) continues his journey,
despite a storm warning.
o Halsey is caught in the storm and realizes it is a cyclone.
o An explanation of the reason why the hurricane went west
instead of north
o An explanation of the "eye" of a hurricane
 "Swells"
o The storm moves from Cuba to Galveston.
o An explanation of how storms cause massive waves, which lead
to swells
 "Heat"
o Captain J. W. Simmons begins his voyage to Florida. There is
no storm warning.
o Isaac Cline gets a telegram from Willis Moore telling him to
raise a storm warning flag, but the Weather Bureau office in
Galveston is not worried.
o A visitor to the office asks about the storm. The employees there
tell him that it is an "offspur" and nothing to worry about.
o Dr. Joseph Young assumes that the storm is a cyclone, and
predicts it will go east of Galveston to the Mississippi River.
o Joseph Cline takes measurements of the weather and notes that
the pressure has risen, rather than fallen (as it typically
does during a storm).

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Isaac’s Storm Reader’s Guide #10

Discussion questions
1. What caused the storm to worsen so quickly?
2. Define "fallacy". Find a list of informal fallacies on the Internet. List
at least two that you noticed while reading these chapters and explain
how they apply.
3. The chapter on "Swells" is short but important. In your own words,
how do swells form?
4. On page 130, Dr. Samuel Young says he was "convinced" that a
cyclone was headed west. Do you believe that he did actually predict
the storm when others didn't? Why or why not?

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