Thomas P. Grazulis
Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
|Residence||St. Johnsbury, Vermont, USA|
|Institutions||The Tornado Project|
|Alma mater||Florida State University|
|Known for||tornado history, statistical, and climatology research|
|Influences||Snowden D. Flora, David M. Ludlum, Ted Fujita|
He grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts and first confronted the power of a tornado during the Worcester Tornado of 1953 which killed 94 people. He received a bachelor's degree in meteorology from Florida State University and was briefly a broadcaster.
After teaching in New Jersey, he and his wife Doris moved to St. Johnsbury, Vermont.
In 1979, he began working with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in creating a history of tornadoes. Specifically, he worked on updating the databases of historic storms maintained by the National Severe Storms Forecast Center in Kansas City, Missouri as well as the database of Ted Fujita. The tornado database work was considered important enough that it was followed by five years of funding from the National Science Foundation. In the process, Grazulis chronicled 50,000 tornadoes in a 1,400 page book. Grazulis amassed one of three authoritative tornado databases, those being the National Tornado Database assembled and maintained by NOAA agencies, the University of Chicago database founded by Fujita which ended at his retirement in 1992, and the Grazulis Tornado Project database. As of 2011, the Grazulis database spans from 1680-1995 and includes all known 'significant' tornadoes (those rated F2-F5 or causing a fatality).
In the early 1990s, he and Doris formed the Tornado Project to market tornado videos, posters, and books.
In 1997, he became a storm chaser noting that despite his fascination with storms he had never actually seen a tornado. He saw his first tornado, a very large one, near Tulsa, Oklahoma on Memorial Day of that year. By the late 1990s, Grazulis also constructed a variety of designs of physical simulator models of vortices. He used these for air flow experiments and for displays. Grazulis had long been interested in tornado simulators and included earlier laboratory studies in his Tornado Video Classics documentaries. The Secrets of the Tornado documentary featured a detailed instructional section with an accompanying printed guide for constructing ones own.
Grazulis is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and was on the Fujita Scale Forum of the Fujita Scale Enhancement Project; which developed the Enhanced Fujita Scale to supplant the original Fujita Scale.
- The New Jersey Shoreline (1967 educational film)
- Approaching the Unapproachable (1972 documentary film)
- Tornado Video Classics I
- Tornado Video Classics II
- Tornado Video Classics III
- Secrets of the Tornado (documentary)
- (1984), Violent Tornado Climatology, 1880-1982. NUREG/CR-3670, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC, 165 pp
- Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991
- Significant Tornadoes Update 1992-1995
- The Tornado: Nature's Ultimate Windstorm
- Doswell, Charles A., III; Thomas P. Grazulis (14-18 Sep 1998). "A Demonstration of Vortex Configurations in an Inexpensive Tornado Simulator". 19th Conf. on Severe Local Storms. Minneapolis, MN: American Meteorological Society. pp. 85–8.