Science writer Frazier has a healthy respect for the literally awesome forces of nature. He reminds us that the power of storms can exceed measly atomic bombs. Tornadoes, the treacherous spinoff of storms, can wreak wholesale havoc as they did over one 24-hour period on April 3 and 4, 1974, when no fewer than 148 twisters fumed and funneled across 13 states. In separate chapters he discourses on these and on lightning, hail, floods, hurricanes, volcanoes, and earthquakes. Irt each case he discusses incidence and prevalence, what is known about origins, how we stand today in powers of prediction (better) and prevention (nil). (Pictures and diagrams would help to guide the reader dizzied by vortices of cyclonic and anticyclonic winds.) Frazier points out that these natural outbursts are part and parcel of earth history. All the same, there is a disquieting sense of tragedy in the documentation, with perhaps overmuch emphasis on recording the exact numbers of lives swept away or the millions of dollars in property loss. The hope is that, accepting the evidence of nature, better means of alerting the populace and improved rescue procedures may mitigate the human tragedy. Toward that end Frazier contributes some fact-versus-fancy information which should be of value to all readers.