Rick Knabb has been named the new director of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center. He replaces outgoing director Bill Read and begins June 4, days after the official start of the six-month Atlantic hurricane season on June 1.
Well-known as The Weather Channel’s “hurricane expert” for the last two hurricane seasons, Knabb is returning to familiar territory. He was a senior hurricane specialist from 2005 to 2008, and the Center’s science operations officer beginning in 2001.
“I’m ready to reunite with the talented staff at the National Hurricane Center and to work with all of our partners to prepare everyone for the next hurricane,” said Knabb. “Personal preparedness will be critically important, including for my own family and home.”
Born just outside of Chicago, Knabb grew up in Coral Springs, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale, and in Katy, Texas in suburban Houston. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Atmospheric Science from Purdue University and holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Meteorology from Florida State University.
Knabb left the Hurricane Center in Miami and became deputy director of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) in Honolulu, Hawaii, for a year before arriving at The Weather Channel. The CPHC oversees tropical cyclone forecasts and warnings from 140° west longitude westward to the International Dateline, including all of the Hawaiian Islands.
A member of the AMS, Knabb also serves on the AMS Board for Operational Government Meteorologists. He has published numerous papers in AMS and other scientific journals and has given presentations on hurricanes and tropical weather at AMS and related conferences. His expertise in communicating has been honed these last two years at The Weather Channel.
“Rick personifies that calm, clear, and trusted voice that the nation has come to rely on,” says NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco. “Rick will also lead our hurricane center team and work closely with federal, state and local emergency management authorities to ensure the public is prepared to weather the storm.”