Bill Read, the director of the National Hurricane Center, announced that he is retiring effective June 1st.
Read took over the position in 2008 after a staff revolt at the National Hurricane Center cost the former director, Bill Proenza, his job. Over the past four plus years, Read brought stability to the NHC over the past four years, which included two rather active seasons in 2010 and 2011.
“Bill has provided superb leadership at the National Hurricane Center as 63 tropical systems formed across the Atlantic basin, including two of the more active seasons on record,” said Jack Hayes, director of the National Weather Service to the Associated Press. “Bill’s departure leaves a noticeable void to fill.”
Read, from Delaware, joined the Navy in 1971. He joined the Navy's Hurricane Hunter program in the mid 70's before transitioning to the National Weather Service in 1977. Prior to leading the Hurricane Center, Read was the meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service in Houston for fifteen years.
I had the opportunity to hear Bill Read talk in 2008 at the University of Delaware as part of a meeting for the local chapter of the American Meteorological Society. I was impressed with his ability to explain meteorology at a level that left you with a piece of knowledge without sending the information out at too technical of a level. His expertise and knowledge will carry him onto the next phase of his career down the line. I'm sure we'll see more of Read at some point in the summer of 2012.
As for his replacement, Dr. Jeff Masters at Wunderground has some speculation on who may replace him. Some of the names are well known amongst the hurricane followers out there, including Dr. Rick Knabb at The Weather Channel and also Dr. Chris Landsea, who has been involved with hurricane research for NOAA and the NHC for over fifteen years.