Changing of the guard at National Hurricane Center

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JULY 13 — Max Mayfield served as director of the NationalHurricaneCenter through seven hurricane seasons. His replacement didn’t make it through one.

“Bill Proenza is on leave but is still a NOAA employee,” says Anson Franklin, director of NOAA’s Office of Communications, in an e-mail Wednesday to Soundings. “Edward Rappaport is acting director of the NationalHurricaneCenter until further notice.” In the days after the change, NOAA officials were hesitant to discuss the issue, which was widely reported by news organizations.

Proenza was named director in January, coming from the National Weather Service’s Southern region. He came to the top post with a reputation for being outspoken, according to a New York Times report. He quickly lived up to that reputation by criticizing NOAA over the lack of money spent on an aging satellite used in forecasting hurricane paths.

A letter signed by 23 HurricaneCenter staffers stating that Proenza’s actions were threatening the “effective functioning” of the center was released to the press July 5, according to The New York Times.

— Rich Armstrong