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WeatherBrains 386: Bill’s Road Kill Model

| 4:30 am June 18, 2013

WeatherBrains Episode 386 is now online (June 17, 2013). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

Our Guest WeatherBrain for this episode is Bill Read, former director of the National Hurricane Center and the KPRC Local 2 Hurricane Expert.

In spite of over 40 years living on the Gulf or Florida coasts, the strongest winds he personally experienced was 1954’s Hurricane Hazel as it passed through Delaware, where he grew up. Hazel and the big Nor’easters that happen on the east coast spurred Bill to pursue an education in the science of weather. After earning a BS in Meteorology from Texas A&M in 1971, Bill served in the U.S. Navy, where once again he came face to face with hurricanes – flying into the storms with the Navy Hurricane Hunters out of Jacksonville, Fla. After four years in the Navy, Bill attended graduate school, earning the MS in Meteorology at A&M in 1976.

Bill Read, former NHC DirectorBill then pursued a 35-year career with the National Weather Service, starting out forecasting weather in San Antonio and Fort Worth before making the leap into management. Bill’s longest tenure was right here in the Houston area, where he was in charge of the National Weather Service Forecast Office located in League City for over 15 years. In addition to the tornadoes, floods and tropical storms, we saw a lot of changes during that 15 year period, from Doppler radar to the Internet. In 2007, he was given the awesome opportunity to serve at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, and became director of the center in January 2008, retiring there in June 2012.

While he worked over 130 tropical storms during his NWS career, Bill says a few will always stand out as most memorable. Folks here in Houston can relate to Allison, Rita and Ike. Bill adds Katrina, when he was assigned to the Hurricane Center to assist in the warning process; Allen (1980), Claudette (1979) and Amelia (1978). While at the National Hurricane Center, he had the opportunity to personally brief President George W. Bush during Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, and President Barack Obama during Hurricane Irene.

Bill serves on the Texas A&M College of Geosciences Dean’s Advisory Council and as a Leadership Partner with the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH). He is also involved with professional societies, having served as president of the National Weather Association in 2003 and as councilor with the American Meteorological Society. He was elected fellow by the Society in 2011. Among the many awards he has received, a Special Award for Public Education from the National Hurricane Conference fits Bill’s passion the best.

Bill has been married to his wife, Donna, since 1976 and they have a son, Jonathan, who also calls the Houston area home.

Also joining us as Guest Panelist is Matt Ernst from Lubbock, TX. Matt has been on the show a number of times, and it is always nice to have his West Texas perspective on things. He is the morning meteorologist for FOX 34 in Lubbock, TX. He is a graduate of Texas Tech University and holds his certificate in Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University.

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Modernization of the NWS
  • Decision-making in the government
  • Doing away with all caps!
  • WeatherBrains t-shirts may be available – drop an email to us to express interest
  • 7 Severe Thunderstorm Warnings in effect in northern Indiana
  • Extremes: 116 in Death Valley, CA, plus numerous other 100 degree readings
  • Slight risk for much of Southeast US for next day
  • and more!

Our email bag officer is continuing to handle the incoming messages from our listeners.

From The Weather Center:

WeatherBrains 101: This episode of WeatherBrains 101 continues a look at some out of this world lightning kinds as well as one of the most dangerous types of lightning.

TWIWH: Bill Murray looks back at the week of June 17th.

Listener SurveyListener Surveys: Okay, we continue to drive this topic into the ground, but we really do like to hear from you. Many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to fill out the Listener Survey. The survey takes just a minute or two to complete and provides us with an opportunity to learn where you are and hear your thoughts and comments on the show. Click here to take the survey.

Web Sites from Episode 386:

KPRC Houston

Picks of the Week:

JB Elliott – Guide to Alabama Weather

Matt Ernst – Statement on tornado sirens

Bill Murray – Central Alabama NWA Chapter

Bill Read – Tropical Atlantic Headquarters

Tony Rice – Super Moon

Kevin Selle – WeatherInsiders

James Spann – No Pick

The WeatherBrains crew includes your host, James Spann, plus other notable geeks like JB Elliott, Bill Murray, and Kevin Selle. They bring together a wealth of weather knowledge and experience for another fascinating netcast about weather.

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