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The Tornado: Nature’s Ultimate Windstorm [Paperback]

Thomas P. Grazulis
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 2003
Tornadoes occur everywhere in the United States, and each region of the nation has its own tornado season. Tornadoes have crossed mountains. Some have lasted more than an hour, scouring the earth with 250 mile-per-hour winds, and some have carried automobiles a half-mile and leveled sturdy homes. In The Tornado: Nature’s Ultimate Windstorm, Thomas P. Grazulis re-creates the incredible drama that so often accompanies tornadoes, and he provides detailed meteorological and statistical information about these marvels—and terrors—of nature.
How often does a tornado hit a particular location? How fast are its winds? Do tornadoes really seek out trailer parks? How many tornadoes hit the United States every year? How big can tornadoes get? Grazulis addresses all these questions and more in this book about one of the most destructive forces, and fascinating scientific puzzles, on the planet.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

What causes tornadoes? How accurately can they be predicted? How large can they grow? The University of Oklahoma Press indulges the curiosity of those fascinated by these whirling scourges in two books. In The Tornado: Nature's Ultimate Windstorm, meteorologist Thomas P. Grazulis authoritatively conveys the science and thrill of tornadoes. His stories of "storm-chasing" and stats about "Individual Tornadoes Causing $200 Million or More in 1999 Inflation-Adjusted Damage" lend weight and immediacy to his accessible book.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


“Nobody covers the history of tornadoes as well as Tom Grazulis. This book is a ‘must have’ for all meteorologists and tornado enthusiasts.”—Daniel McCarthyBulletin of the American Meteorological Society

“The foremost living expert on tornado observations . . . Grazulis enjoys a good tale but really lives for the telling statistic. . . . [Readers] will admire the author’s passion for getting the facts right.”—J.A. KnoxChoice

I strongly urge everyone living in tornado-prone areas to read this book. It might save your life!” —Keith C. HeidornCanadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society Bulletin

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
On May 25, 1932, on a northwestern Kansas farm just south of the Nebraska border, John Newport looked to the west and saw storm clouds building. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal quick reference on tornadoes July 5 2004
From the intorduction, you read that the author's intent with this book was to write a modernized edition of Snowden D. Flora's 1953 book "Tornadoes of the United States" -- which was billed at the time as the first general reference book on tornadoes. In that respect, Tom Grazulis has fully succeeded.
"The Tornado" covers all the basics about tornadoes, like the highly complicated (and still enigmatic) process of tornado formation, forecasting, historical aspects of tornadoes -- as well as major tornadic events of the past, safety, climatology/frequncy, international frequency and major events, the Fujita scale, myths (more than you might think), and a pleasingly non-sensational chapter on storm chasing.
The text is never too complicated, and even the more technical points are easy to understand. The fact that the book is up-to-date is also a plus, as is the scope of the book's coverage. It's also somewhat more relevant to an American audience than Arjen and Jerrine Verkaik's "Under the Whirlwind," which -- though good, and including some of what this book covers -- was written with a Canadian audience in mind. (In which case Canadian readers are advised to read that book before this.)
About the only real minus is that there are limited illustrations, and those in the book are black and white. This text accompanied with more -- and color -- illustrations might have been more useful, although in moderation so as not to draw attention away from the text; at any rate a section of color plates would have been a nice addition.
That aside, this is a terrific guide to all things relevant (or even just the stuff you might have thought of once!) to tornadoes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gone with the wind. Aug. 26 2002
Lets start with the few negatives about this book. Grazulis does use the term, "I" fairly often in this book. This doesn't bother me as much as it does some people. He has to use the first person as he explains what brought about his interest in tornadoes and he has been involved in much of the research he talks about. The only real drawback I can find is that he gets a little too technical for the average reader on occasion. Still, considering the complicated nature of his subject I think he does a fine job of getting his point across and helping someone like me began to understand these killer storms.
Grazulis leads us down the path of tornado history making stops along the way to point out interesting facts. The reader is given stories of survival as well as tragedy. We even get a story about the one of the 18th century's most famous scientists chasing on horseback after what may or may not have been a tornado. I can just see Ben Franklin charging down the road in hot pursuit. Grazulis also spends some time trashing some tornado myths and giving some safety tips. There is also a very interesting chapter on tornadoes in other countries. I have even begun to understand what straight line winds and downbursts are because of this book.
Best of all the reader will be treated to an inside look at the progress science has made in understanding and predicting tornadoes. The new equipment, the new ideas, and the ever present danger of trying to get too close to a tornado to study it. Science has come a long way since early April, 1974 when forecasters all over the eastern U.S. watched the "Super Outbreak" on surplus World War II radar.
No matter if you are a weather junkie or are just in awe of the power of nature I feel sure you will find this to be an interesting read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An accessible introduction to the subject Aug. 20 2001
Persons interested in tornadoes will recognize Tom Grazulis as the Director of the Tornado Project and author of the massive tornado tome "Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991." In this new book, appropriately published by the University of Oklahoma Press, Grazulis discusses the long history of tornadoes in the United States (and, rare for books on the subject, includes a listing of major tornadoes outside the US), covers the process of observation and research that led to today's understanding of these chaotic storms, discusses tornado oddities, tornado safety, and tornado myths (no, that trailer park on the edge of town is not a dangerous tornado attractant). Grazulis is not a particularly stylish writer, but the book is clear and interesting and will serve as a good introduction to both the trail of terror left by these storms and the current state of severe storm research.
.... While Grazulis does on occasion refer to himself, it is not excessive and provides his own view of events and personalities in the field.
My only disagreement with Grazulis is his soft-pedaling of the state of government funding into severe storm research and warning systems. While he comments mildly that the government just can't fund everything (which of course is true), I would observe that there always seems to be money for congressional porkbarrel, like the mysterious ordering every year of C-130 aircraft that the Air Force didn't want but which were built in a certain well-known former House Speaker's district at the same time that Weather Service offices were being closed and research money drying up.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book on Tornadoes
I strongly recommend this book for anyone interested in tornadoes and wishing to learn more about the subject. Read more
Published on Nov. 29 2002 by Donald Giuliano
4.0 out of 5 stars Compact but thorough reference on tornadoes
In 1953, the University of Oklahoma Press launched its biggest seller to date with "Tornadoes of the United States" by Snowden D. Flora. Read more
Published on June 6 2001 by Roger Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars A Review From Tornado Alley
Many readers in Oklahoma know the scenario all to well. Typically the spring or summer day begins warm and clear with a sometimes hazy blue tint to the sky shimmering with... Read more
Published on May 21 2001 by Charles M. Nobles
4.0 out of 5 stars An informative but strangely written book.
Thomas P. Grazulis has obviously dedicated a good part of his life to studying Tornadoes. This book has "labor of love" written many times over between its pages. Read more
Published on May 2 2001 by Brian D. Rubendall
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Effort!
This book is an excellent introduction into the whole phenomenon of tornadoes. Grazulis presents an extremely well-written and researched work which is a superb primer for anyone... Read more
Published on April 19 2001 by Sean L. Richardson
5.0 out of 5 stars A very well written book
Out of all the books on tornadoes, and severe weather, this is the most comprehensive book on tornadoes to date. T.P. Read more
Published on April 6 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Stormlover
I was very impressed with the great lengths the author took to document and verify all the tornados in this book. Read more
Published on March 24 2001
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