Timothy P. Marshall

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Tim Marshall
Born (1956-10-17) October 17, 1956 (age 58)
Evergreen Park, Illinois, USA
Fields Structural engineering and meteorology
Institutions Haag Engineering
Alma mater Northern Illinois University (B.S., 1978)
Texas Tech University (M.S., 1980, 1983)
Thesis The Utilization of Load and Resistance Statistics in a Wind Speed Assessment (1983)
Known for Tornado damage analysis, wind and hail engineering
Influences Ted Fujita[1]

Timothy Patrick Marshall (born October 17, 1956) is an American structural engineer and meteorologist concentrating on damage analysis, particularly that from wind and other weather phenomena. He is also a pioneering storm chaser and was editor of Storm Track magazine.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Marshall was born to Charles and Catherine Marshall in Evergreen Park near Chicago, Illinois, in 1956 and raised in Oak Lawn, then in Oak Brook. Oak Lawn was heavily damaged during the historic 1967 Oak Lawn tornado outbreak of April 21, 1967, when he was 10 years old. The F4 "Oak Lawn tornado" touched down about 4 mi (6.4 km) west of his family's home and killed 33 in town, including some of his classmates. This experience served to strengthen his interest in meteorology, and he focused his studies on tornadoes.[2]

Marshall attended Northern Illinois University (NIU) in DeKalb, attaining a B.S. degree in geography with a concentration in meteorology in 1978. As an undergraduate student there, he and classmates surveyed some tornado damage paths of the 1974 Super Outbreak during an informal trip to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) to collect severe weather data. Later, he and fellow students visited the National Severe Storms Forecast Center (NSSFC) and obtained a large collection of materials the library was dumping, which formed the basis of Marshall's own library.[2]

Marshall went to Texas for graduate school, seeing his first tornado a few hours after entering the state. In 1978, he began storm chasing in West Texas and Oklahoma. He participated in field research and damage surveys. In 1980, he earned a M.S. degree majoring in atmospheric sciences from Texas Tech University (TTU) in Lubbock with the thesis Topographic Influences on Amarillo Radar Echo Climatology, then went on to earn an M.S. degree in civil engineering from the same university. At TTU, Marshall worked part-time at the Institute for Disaster Research where he began surveying tornado and hurricane damage. His first official tornado damage survey was in Grand Island, Nebraska, in 1980 and his first hurricane damage survey was Hurricane Allen in south Texas later that year. His thesis was titled The Utilization of Load and Resistance Statistics in a Wind Speed Assessment.[2]


In 1983, Marshall was hired by the leading Texas firm Haag Engineering and eventually became Senior Engineer and Meteorologist. At Haag, he travels a great deal surveying storm damage across the United States. He has conducted more than 100 damage surveys of hailstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Some of the famous tornadoes he surveyed include the F5s at Jarrell, TX (1997), Bridge Creek, OK (1999), Greensburg, KS (2007), Alabama (2011), Joplin, MO (2011), and Moore, OK (2013). Some of the famous hurricanes he has surveyed include Alicia in Texas (1983), Hugo in South Carolina (1989), Andrew in Florida (1992), Opal in Florida (1995), Katrina in Mississippi (2005), and Ike in Texas (2008). Marshall became a Professional Engineer in 1989.

Marshall still finds time to pursue his hobby storm chasing. During the past 30 years, he filmed more than 200 tornadoes and experienced 17 hurricanes. In 2004, he rode out Hurricane Ivan in Pensacola, Florida and, in 2005, Marshall rode out Hurricane Katrina in Slidell, Louisiana. In 2008, he rode out Hurricane Ike on Galveston Island.

Marshall appeared on dozens of television programs including those on The Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, National Geographic Channel, The History Channel, and The Weather Channel. He was a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show twice and appeared multiple times on NOVA. Marshall has also been a radio guest, such as on NPR,[3] and has been featured in magazines such as National Geographic and Weatherwise, to the latter of which he has contributed some articles. Marshall also has published tornado related articles in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society as well as Weather and Forecasting.

Marshall was selected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to serve on their Quick Response Team (QRT) where he has surveyed tornado damage in Alabama and Georgia in 1994, Nashville, Tennessee, in 1998, La Plata, Maryland, in 2002, the April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak, and the 2011 Joplin tornado. He was on the development team of the Fujita Scale Enhancement Project which produced an Enhanced Fujita Scale to update the original Fujita scale of tornado intensity. He has been a principle trainer in damage surveys for the National Weather Service (NWS) since the 1990s. Between 2006 and 2012, Marshall was elected to serve on the Severe Local Storms committee for the American Meteorological Society. In 2009 and 2010, he was part of the government sponsored VORTEX2 experiment working on the Center of Severe Weather Research (CSWR) team with Joshua Wurman. In 2012 he continued working with CSWR on the ROTATE (Radar Observations of Tornadoes and Thunderstorms Project). His job was to deploy in-situ pods in the paths of tornadoes and perform mobile mesonet transects of storm environments.

Personal life[edit]

During his early years in Texas, Tim met his future wife, Kay, at a concert. Kay is a natural history museum exhibit designer and an ornithologist. She sometimes accompanies Tim on storm chases. Marshall learned and taught guitar as a youth and enjoys mountain climbing, snorkeling, and scuba diving.[4]


Marshall has authored and coauthored numerous scientific publications in the realms of meteorology and civil engineering. In addition to editing and writing for Storm Track (1986-2002) and writing various articles for Weatherwise, he wrote the following booklets:

  • Storm Chase Manual (1979. 1983, 1986, 1998)
  • Storm Talk (1995)
  • Tornado Talk (1998)
  • Tornado Forecasters Workbook (1998)

Marshall also released the following DVDs through Storm Track: 1991 Kansas Tornadoes, 1995 Wedgefest, 1998 Octoberfest, 1999 Oklahoma Tornado Outbreak, 2000 Millennium Chases, 2002 Chase Highlights, 2003 Chase Highlights, 2004 Midwest Mayhem, 2005 Spin Summer, 2007 Tornado Chases, 2008 Tornado and Hurricane Chases, 2009 Inside VORTEX 2, 2010 Tornado Chases, and Tim Marshall's 25 Years of Tornado Chasing.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marshall, Tim (Nov–Dec 1998). Storm Track (Flower Mound, TX) 22 (1).  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d Marshall, Tim (Nov–Dec 2001). "Diary of a Storm Chaser". Storm Track (Flower Mound, TX) 25 (1): 16–38. 
  3. ^ Block, Melissa (24 May 2013). "Moore, Okla., Homes Lacked Improvements After 1999 Tornadoes". All Things Considered (NPR). Retrieved 2014-03-05. 
  4. ^ Hoadley, David (Jan–Feb 1986). "Commentary". Storm Track (Falls Church, VA) 9 (2): 1–2. 
  5. ^ Marshall, Tim. "Tim Marshall's STORMTRACK Shop". Storm Track. Retrieved 2011-10-20. 

External links[edit]