NHC Will Ultimately Be Judged By Quality Forecasting

Leadership at the National Hurricane Center

On Monday, an all-hands meeting was held at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) to announce that Bill Read would be NHC’s acting Deputy Director effective September 4.

During my tenure at the NHC, I had the good fortune to work with Bill for the past 15 years. I see this as a very good move to bring Bill in during the peak of the hurricane season.

He has a wealth of hurricane and management experience having served as an on-board meteorologist with the Navy Hurricane Hunters in 1972-1973, earning a Master’s Degree in Meteorology from Texas A&M in 1976, working for several years in the NWS as an operational forecaster in Fort Worth and San Antonio, leading the severe thunderstorm and flash flood programs at NWS headquarters, and most recently serving as the Meteorologist-in-Charge of the Houston-Galveston Area National Weather Service (NWS) Office since 1992.

During U.S. hurricane landfall threats when the staff of the NHC needed help to support the Hurricane Liaison Team (HLT) in providing briefings to high level government officials, Bill Read was one of my go-to guys. Bill did outstanding jobs on the HLT during Hurricanes Isabel (2003), Charley (2004), and Katrina (2005).

Dr. Ed Rappaport remains the extremely capable acting Director of NHC. His 30-year career in meteorology comprises positions in forecasting, research, administration, management, teaching, and the media. Ed became Deputy Director of the NHC in August 2000, shortly after I was selected as the Director. The NHC would never have been as successful during the 2000-2006 seasons without the hard work and dedication of Ed. I owe Ed a lot for his efforts, including his filling in as acting NHC Director while I was frequently on extended travel outside of the hurricane season.

Bill will be focusing on the administrative matters as the Deputy Director. Ed will continue to have the operational and managerial duties of both the Director and Deputy.

Dr. Rick Knabb, one of the Senior Hurricane Specialists, was named the “team leader” for the hurricane specialist unit. Rick will be a tremendous help in representing the hurricane forecasters and will also share media tasks with Ed during U.S. landfall threats.

Ed Rappaport, Bill Read, and Rick Knabb will make a great leadership team at the NHC. Together with the superb staffs of the NHC, the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch, and the Technical Support Branch, our Nation should be well served this hurricane season. But as Ed Rappaport says, the NHC will ultimately be judged by the quality of its forecasts.

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