National Hurricane Director Center director loses position

The National Hurricane Center in Florida is having a bit of rough weather itself.
A nasty internal feud has become public and cost its director his job.

Bill Proenza says he was removed for acting in the public’s best interest.

It’s the equipment that tracks powerful hurricanes near the US shore. But is it out-of-date and unreliable?

The mere suggestion that it is, cost the national hurricane director his leadership role days ago.

But this morning, another weather expert echoed the same concerns.

Dr. Greg Holland with the National Center for Atmospheric Research

At a hearing on Capitol Hill a meteorologist from the national center for atmospheric research said, new and improved satellite equipment is a necessity to accurately predict future storms. And planned government cutbacks are a serious step backward.

This week, a staff mutiny forced Proenza to be reassigned.

Staff members claimed he undermined public confidence in their forecasts by questioning the accuracy of their aging storm tracking satellite, called Quick-scat.

Forecaster James Franklin said, “Bill has poisoned the atmosphere here at the national hurricane center.”

He also upset his bosses in Washington for criticizing budget cuts.

Rep. Ron Klein said, “To me this is a very simple issue hurricane forecasters should have every tool people to keep Americans safe.”

The quick-scat hurricane tracking satellite that started this controversy has outlived its lifespan. Some, like the former hurricane center director, fear it could fail at anytime. Other experts say it’s in good shape — and even if it fails, hurricane forecasting won’t be significantly impacted.

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