Bill Proenza gone; tropical update
With hurricane season fast approaching and internal strife threatening "the effective functioning of the National Hurricane Center", as stated in a letter signed by 23 of NHC's 49 employees, NOAA did the best thing by reassigning director Bill Proenza this afternoon. Conrad Lautenbacher, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, announced Proenza has been placed on leave "until further notice."
The reassignment puts NHC deputy director Ed Rappaport, 49, into the director's hot seat. I greatly respect Dr. Rappaport, who has done a great job as deputy director and is a highly skilled hurricane forecaster. Dr. Rappaport has a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from Texas Tech. He began work in 1988 at NHC, and served as one NHC's Hurricane Specialists before becoming chief of the Technical Support Branch. He is the best choice for director of NHC. He had wide support to become director last year when Max Mayfield retired, but turned down the job due to family reasons.
There are no threat areas in the tropical Atlantic to discuss, and none of the computer models are forecasting tropical storm formation over the coming week. A cold front is expected to push off the U.S. East Coast by Sunday, and we will have to watch the waters off the North Carolina coast then for development when the front stalls out. In the Pacific, an exceptionally large Category 1 typhoon, Man-Yi, is expected to become a major typhoon, and will threaten Japan late this week.