Hurricane Center Names New Director

By: Associated Press and Meteorologist Ray Hawthorne Email
By: Associated Press and Meteorologist Ray Hawthorne Email

A veteran weather forecaster was named the new director of the National Hurricane Center on Friday.

Bill Read, 58, had been the center's interim deputy director since August, when director Bill Proenza was ousted. Some members of Proenza's staff urged federal officials to dismiss him because they said he was exaggerating problems with a satellite. Proenza returned to his old job as Director of the National Weather Service's Southern Region.

Read ran the National Weather Service's Houston-Galveston office before moving to Miami.

"Bill has been a trusted consultant to emergency managers in and around Houston and I'm sure he will foster that type of goodwill in communities vulnerable to hurricanes," said Conrad Lautenbacher, who leads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The hurricane center in Miami monitors the movement and strength of tropical weather systems, and issues storm watches and warnings for the U.S. and surrounding areas.

Read will also lead the other two branches of NOAA's Tropical Prediction Center. Those branches focus on satellite and radar analyses and developing new techniques for tropical weather analysis and prediction.

Proenza replaced Max Mayfield in January 2007. Mayfield, who retired after seven years as director, was popular among forecasters and the public for his calming persona, even in the face of monster storms.

"I like a lot of Max's philosophy, which is to be calm in the heat of the battle," Read told The Miami Herald on Wednesday, "and I like the approach that the forecasters are taking and that will not change."

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