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Menacing Skies Book

Dan Henry

Menacing Skies

Texas Weather and Stories of Survival


Imagine you’re blindsided on a dark highway by a half-mile-wide tornado. Or worse, you’re aboard a commercial jetliner brought to the ground by a powerful thunderstorm, the deadliest plane crash in Texas history

In Menacing Skies: Texas Weather and Stories of Survival, Dan Henry shares incredible stories of survival from people who have come face-to-face with nature’s most violent storms. Dan has covered every type of weather event during his three decade career as a Meteorologist. In this book, he collaborates with other top experts in the field to unravel the mysteries of science that drive our weather. Why do some thunderstorms spawn destructive tornadoes, and others don’t? What is “supercharging” hurricanes like Harvey, enabling them to unleash historic flooding? How will climate change affect our weather and our lives in the next 100 years?

Whether you’re an aspiring storm chaser, or someone who runs for shelter at the first clap of thunder, Menacing Skies will leave you awed by the power of the human spirit, and better prepared for whatever severe weather you encounter.


When you think of Christmas, many images may come to mind, but the last thing would be witnessing a swarm of tornadoes decimating neighborhoods and turning lives upside down.

From “Menacing Skies”

Within seconds, their vehicle was being blasted by debris. Moments later, Gary said it felt like a dinosaur had put its foot on the back of his Toyota Tundra and was shaking it violently.

From “Menacing Skies”

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The only thing more terrifying than a large tornado hitting a highly populated area is one that strikes at night. Under the cloak of darkness, they are often not seen or heard until they are bearing down on you. When you think of Christmas, many images may come to mind, but the last thing would be witnessing a swarm of tornadoes decimating neighborhoods and turning lives upside down. On December 26, 2015, however, that unthinkable scenario played out across North Texas as powerful storms tapped into a volatile air mass, fueling a deadly outbreak that spun up twelve tornadoes over the span of eight hours, casting a long, dark shadow over what is supposed to be one of the most joyous times of the year.

Gary Tucker and his girlfriend, Amy Clark, were relaxing at home the day after Christmas when they got the itch to get out and do something. Eager to hit the stores for a little post-holiday shopping, they drove to Bass Pro Shop in Garland. It was a balmy afternoon and the sky was filled with dark, rolling clouds. Unusual, yes, but being a long-time Texan, Gary wasn’t fazed. Gary and Amy spent about an hour inside the store before making their way to the registers. While they were checking out, Gary recalls looking out the exit doors and seeing torrential rain being blown sideways by very strong winds. By the time they had paid, the heavy downpours had ceased, and the wind had died down. As they headed to the exit doors, another shopper’s phone received an alert for a tornado warning. It included a lengthy list of towns and cities, all of which Gary recognized, including Garland and neighboring Rowlett. Figuring the storm had subsided and considering he had heard about a thousand of these warnings before, he and Amy made their way out into the parking lot. It was 6:30 p.m. The sun had set an hour earlier and only a hint of twilight remained. The winds were now calm, but the eerie green skies were still cause for concern. As they got into the truck, Gary asked his girlfriend if she was hearing a sound off in the distance. He made a slow, deliberate loop around the parking lot. Listening intently with the windows rolled down, he turned to Amy and said, “Now do you hear it?” This time, she did. It was still faint and distant, but it sounded like a train.