A veteran weather forecaster was named the new director of the National Hurricane Center on Friday.
Bill Read, 58, had been the center's interim deputy director since August, when director Bill Proenza was ousted. Proenza's staff urged federal officials to dismiss him because they said he was exaggerating problems with a satellite.
Read ran the National Weather Service's Houston-Galveston office before moving to Miami. He also served on the hurricane center's liaison team that coordinates with emergency managers and meteorologists in the path of a storm.
"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," said Conrad Lautenbacher, who leads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The hurricane center in Miami monitors the movement and strength of tropical weather systems, and issues storm watches and warnings for the U.S. and surrounding areas.
Read will also lead the other two branches of NOAA's Tropical Prediction Center. Those branches focus on satellite and radar analyses and developing new techniques for tropical weather analysis and prediction.
'Calm in the heat of battle'
Proenza replaced Max Mayfield in January 2007. Mayfield, who retired after seven years as director, was popular among forecasters and the public for his calming persona, even in the face of monster storms.
"I like a lot of Max's philosophy, which is to be calm in the heat of the battle," Read told The Miami Herald on Wednesday, "and I like the approach that the forecasters are taking and that will not change."
In July, Proenza was placed on leave after almost half his staff said his comments about an aging weather satellite undermined the public's confidence in the hurricane center's forecasting abilities.
Turmoil in the office
A five-member team from the Commerce Department investigated the facility's management and determined Proenza should not be allowed to return. The team found a negative atmosphere and lack of trust between Proenza and his staff jeopardized the hurricane center's ability to function.
Proenza maintained he had been ousted because of his public complaints that the satellite was not being replaced quickly enough and storm forecasts would suffer if it failed. He was eventually reassigned to his previous job in Fort Worth, Texas, as director of the weather service's southern region.
Interim director Ed Rappaport chose not to apply for the permanent position and will return to his previous post as deputy director, NOAA said.