NOAA officials today named Bill Read as the new director of its Tropical Prediction Center, which includes the National Hurricane Center and two other divisions, in Miami. Read has served as the center’s acting deputy director since August 2007.

“Bill has what it takes be the nation’s hurricane center director. He’s spent 30 years of his career as a weather professional with NOAA dedicated to protecting lives from severe weather, much of it hurricanes and tropical storms,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C.
Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

“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. He will find the job as rewarding as it is demanding.”

Tropical storms and hurricanes have frequently played a major role in Read’s professional life. Read and his team were at the forefront in July 2003 as Hurricane Claudette made landfall on the Texas coast. He also was part of the Hurricane Liaison Team at the National Hurricane Center in Miami when Hurricane Isabel came ashore on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and raced northeast in September 2003.

Read was appointed to direct the Houston/Galveston weather forecast office of NOAA’s National Weather Service in 1992 and led it through the challenges of the National Weather Service modernization and restructuring program in the mid 1990s.

“Bill brings a wealth of experience in meteorology and management to this position. He has a clear understanding of the needs of staff, the emergency management community and the public in fulfilling our mission of saving lives and property,” said Jack Hayes, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “Bill has a proven track record of pulling people together – from the forecaster to the emergency manager – as severe weather threatens.”

Prior to joining NOAA’s National Weather Service, Read served in the U.S. Navy, where his duties included an assignment as an on-board meteorologist with the Hurricane Hunters. He began his career in 1977 with the National Weather Service test and evaluation division in Sterling, Va., developed his forecasting skills in Fort Worth and San Antonio, Texas; and, served as severe thunderstorm and flash flood program leader at the National Weather Service headquarters in Silver Spring, Md.

NOAA’s Tropical Prediction Center contains three divisions – 1.) the National Hurricane Center provides forecasts of the movement and strength of tropical weather systems and issues watches and warnings for the U.S. and surrounding areas, 2.) the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch provides support for satellite and radar analyses, and 3.) the Technical Support Branch provides support for the Center’s computer and communications systems and develops new techniques for tropical cyclone and tropical weather analysis and prediction.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.