This week, Louis W. Uccellini, Ph.D., a native of Bethpage, was named the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) assistant administrator for weather services and the 16th director of NOAA’s National Weather Service.
Uccellini’s long and distinguished weather career began in 1978 when he served as the section head for the Mesoscale Analysis and Modeling Section of the Goddard Space Flight Center’s Laboratory for Atmospheres. He joined the NWS in 1989, serving as chief of the Meteorological Operations Division and then as director of the Office of Meteorology in 1994.
“Louis has always placed a priority on providing forecast tools to help field offices and national centers be successful. I’m proud to work by his side as we continue supporting our nation-wide team,” said NWS deputy director Laura K. Furgione.
“It’s an honor to lead such a prestigious agency with the unbeatable mission of protecting lives and livelihoods,” said Uccellini. “The past year had its success stories with superior outlooks, forecasts and warnings, including those for Sandy, but difficulties remain. Our eyes remain locked on the future to ensure a National Weather Service that is second to none and supports a weather-ready nation."
“Working with a spectrum of partners, including emergency management, the commercial sector, broadcasters, academia and social scientists, we can and will meet the nation’s needs to overcome the very real threats from the increasing severity and frequency of weather and climate extremes,” added Uccellini.
Prior to his new appointment, Uccellini, 63, headed the NWS’ National Centers for Environmental Prediction, where he oversaw the planning, science and technology and operations of its central operations and environmental modeling, along with seven national centers, including the National Hurricane Center, the Storm Prediction Center and the Space Weather Prediction Center. In addition, Uccellini is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society and just completed his term as the society’s president.
“Louis’ leadership within the National Weather Service and his relationship with the U.S. and international weather enterprise allow him to effectively steer the agency forward,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.
More than providing daily forecasts, weather watches and warnings, the NWS provides weather, water and climate data aimed at protecting life and property and enhancing the national economy. Among its many functions, the NWS supports airline safety and marine transportation and works to protect our electrical infrastructure from solar storms.
In 2011, NWS unveiled its new Strategic Plan to create a weather-ready nation—a society that is well-equipped to respond to weather-dependent events.
The NWS, headquartered in Silver Spring, Md., employs 5,000 people in 122 weather forecast offices and has 13 river forecast centers, 9 national centers and other support offices around the nation. Each year, it collects 76 billion observations and issues approximately 1.5 million forecasts and 50,000 warnings.
“I congratulate Dr. Uccellini and look forward to continuing to collaborate with him and the National Weather Service,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “FEMA and the NWS in partnership together prepare communities and local officials for the impacts of weather hazards to save lives and protect property.”
Uccellini, now a resident of Columbia, Md., has published more than 60 journal articles and chapters in books and coauthored the two-volume Northeast Snowstorms, hailed as the most exhaustive exposition on winter storms.
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