Freeman Hall is a retired meteorologist, Ph.D. from UCLA in 1967. He worked in the west coast aerospace industry for sixteen years, then for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado for eighteen years. He is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.Peabody's Prognosis is a novel that relates how a fascination with water spouts leads a young U.S. Navy officer, Delbert Peabody, to resign his commission and become a college professor. He loves his shipboard tasks but sees the arbitrary assignment to sea duty as a threat to his marriage. He accepts an appointment at a community college in Sweetwater, Texas so he can investigate how a tornado could have occurred there early in the morning in 1986 when the atmosphere is usually stable. His beautiful if somewhat bipolar wife, Genevra, hates their life in "Hicksville." Del organizes a crew of student storm chasers to gather data on Sweetwater severe weather. They discover that local terrain induces a low level twisting flow, vorticity, that may cause storms to spin. When a new dam is proposed south of town, Peabody opposes its construction, fearing that the warm reservoir may intensify Sweetwater storms. His star student, Camille Renzoni, attends the hearing to offer moral support for Del's position. The newspaper reports his disaster concerns, leading to a furious retort from Genevra. To himself, Del likens her mood swings to his digital instruments that operate on Ones and Zeroes. She is a Zero.Genevra has her Ladies' Bridge Club for diversion. The matriarch of the club, Lillian Dawkins, is the wife of County Commissioner, James Henry Dawkins, in front of whom Del made such a fool of himself at the dam hearing. But Lillian is impressed with Genevra's skill at bridge and with Del's spunk, and asks her to be her partner at a tournament scheduled for Dallas. Immediately Genevra's passion for Del returns, and their marriage is back on track. She is a One.A classroom demonstration by Del on how tornado vortices form secures the enthusiasm of his storm chasers, and they video and measure winds as a supercell storm forms near Sweetwater. A gust front from the storm forces Del and Camille to seek shelter in a culvert. As he holds her for protection from flying debris, he begins to realize that his feelings for her go beyond teaching her meteorology.James Henry Dawkins is annoyed with Peabody for opposing the dam. He sends his ranch foreman, Andy Cassidy, to let the air out of Del's truck tire in the faculty parking lot. Del has a spare valve core in his tool box and pumps it back up. That makes him late for dinner, infuriating Genevra. She is a Zero.Genevra's trip to Dallas is in the Dawkins' twin-engine aircraft, piloted by handsome young Jimmy Dawkins, just out of the Army. Lillian and Genevra do well at the tournament, and Jimmy seduces Genevra when Lillian has oil business that needs attending. On returning to Sweetwater, Genevra is so considerate to Del that he doesn't mind at all when additional bridge tournament trips come up. She is a One after her bridge trips with Lillian Dawkins.Del's computer models of Sweetwater storms increase in complexity to match the observations of his storm chasers. He submits a paper to the American Meteorological Society, and it is accepted for presentation at the annual meeting in Dallas. He hopes that Genevra can come with him, but the meeting conflicts with a bridge tournament in New Orleans. At the tournament, Jimmy Dawkins flies off on oil business for Lillian and takes time to look up an old girl friend in Lafayette. Genevra is crushed. Del's paper wins a prize for mesoscale modeling at the Dallas meeting. When he returns home, Genevra hardly talks about her bridge trip. She is a Zero. James Henry Dawkins is frustrated that Del escaped so easily from having the valve core stolen from his truck's tire. He calls his friend, the dean at the college, to report his displeasure with Del's opposition to the dam. When hail from a storm the student chasers are measuring damages one of the school's vans, Peabody is called into the dean's office for a reprimand. The dean says he doubts the value of Del's meteorology course. Dawkins is angry that Del wasn't fired by the dean. He suggests that Andy Cassidy run Del off the road. Peabody spots the big Freightliner tractor approaching rapidly from the rear as he heads home, and jogs into a detour around a new culvert excavation. Cassidy crashes into the ditch. Del tries to help him out of the big truck, but Cassidy waves him off, asking, "Are you okay, prof?" He relates his escape to Genevra, and resolves to never get involved in politics again. But the college dean cancels Del's meteorology class anyway, and informs him that there are no funds to continue his appointment in the next year.In what will be his last semester at Texas State Technical College, Del refines his computer model of severe convective storms. He also looks for a job, and one school he visits is his old alma mater, the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California. His old buddy there is now a department chair, who is impressed with his seminar and offers him a professorship. On returning home he upgrades his computer model using a suggestion he received on his trip. When he runs his model at TSTC with inputs of present weather conditions, it predicts a giant rotating supercell storm. Camille Renzoni stops by on spring break from Texas Tech in Lubbock and sees the model display on Del's computer console. They decide to do one last storm chase, and the supercell they observe develops a wall cloud, then two tornado funnels. The twisters sweep across the new Sweetwater Reservoir, intensifying, then merging into an F5 tornado. A giant explosion triggered by the storm wreaks even more havoc. The aftermath of the storm changes Del's and Camille's lives forever.