Weather Channel’s Winter Expert Has Roots in Oswego
When your résumé includes experiences like standing atop Piez Hall measuring the wind speed as the Blizzard of ’77 blew in, where else would your career take you but before the cameras of the Weather Channel as the Winter Weather Expert?
Luckily Tom Niziol ’77 made it down off that roof safely. Now he draws on his Oswego snow schooling and a 30-year career with the National Weather Service in Buffalo in his new role working with the country’s premier source for consumer weather information.
Niziol joined the Weather Channel in January, and immediately took to the air to explain extreme weather conditions around the country.
He'll be featured regularly during winter weather coverage on The Weather Channel, which reaches more than 100 million American homes. Niziol will also contribute his expertise with content on The Weather Channel's digital platforms including weather.com and social media outlets.
Niziol enjoyed being a student in Oswego’s meteorology department, he said, not only because of the school’s excellent reputation in the field but because the program was small enough to get individualized attention and the opportunity for hands-on research with faculty members. The late professors emeriti Eugene Chermack and Robert Sykes were his mentors and heroes, he recalls.
After Oswego, he went to work for the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratories in Buffalo, now Calspan Corp., and from there joined the National Weather Service. He worked his way up the career ladder, eventually becoming the meteorologist in charge of the Buffalo office.
After three decades at the government’s weather service, Niziol expected to finish out his career there, until a call came “out of the blue” from the Weather Channel, asking him to audition to explain winter’s extreme weather to a national audience. He made the trip to Atlanta, auditioned and was invited to become part of a Weather Channel team that includes Oswego grads Thomas Moore ’74, who serves as coordinator of weather forecast programming and now works hand-in-hand with Niziol, and Al Roker ’76, who hosts the channel’s popular “Wake Up with Al” morning program.
And how cool is it to be the Weather Channel’s winter storm expert? “I’m the luckiest man alive,” says Niziol, who long felt that he had his dream job with the NWS and now has another dream job telling the whole nation about the weather phenomena he came to love and understand at SUNY Oswego.
⎯ Michele Reed
PHOTO CAPTION: Tom Niziol ’77 draws on personal history at Oswego and in Buffalo as the severe winter weather expert on the Weather Channel.
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