Probe recommends Proenza's permanent removal; Atlantic and Hawaiian tropical update

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:11 PM GMT on July 20, 2007

At a Congressional hearing yesterday, results of the independent probe sent by NOAA to investigate management problems at the National Hurricane Center were presented by Dr. Jim Turner. Dr. Turner is deputy director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and was leader of the independent team of five people sent to NHC on July 2. Their report (Attachment 9) recommended the permanent removal of Bill Proenza as director of NHC (also called the Tropical Prediction Center, or TPC):

"The current TPC director should be reassigned and not be allowed to return to his position at the center. This should be done due to his failure to demonstrate leadership within the TPC rather than his public statements about the QuikSCAT satellite or NOAA leadership."

In his testimony, the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Conrad Lautenbacher, presented some very damaging evidence against Mr. Proenza. Lautenbacher's written testimony includes a letter (Attachment 2) providing a detailed description of a conference call requested by 11 NHC employees (including 7 of 9 of the hurricane forecasters), with the acting head of the National Weather Service, Mary Glackin. If you want to better understand the NHC controversy, read Attachment 2 describing what was said during the June 19 meeting.

I'll make one more post this afternoon analyzing the science of what was presented at the Congressional hearing. Then, it's time to let this issue fade until the next Congressional hearing on the issue, tentatively planned for December or January. The tropics are starting to heat up, and it's time to focus on the coming hurricane season.

Tropical wave near Puerto Rico
A tropical wave near Puerto Rico is spreading clouds and thunderstorms over a wide area of the Eastern Caribbean, northern Lesser Antilles Islands, and surrounding waters. This wave is under about 20-30 knots of wind shear, thanks to the presence of an upper-level low pressure system to its northwest (Figure 1). This upper low is expected to stay in place an continue to bring hostile wind shear to the area the next few days. I don't expect the shear will allow anything to develop from this tropical wave.

Figure 1. Water vapor image from this morning showing the tropical wave near Puerto Rico, and the upper level low with dry air (dark colors) to its northwest. This upper level low sucking in moist air from the tropical wave, and is bringing hostile wind shear of 20-30 knots over it.

We will need to watch the waters off the Carolina coast on Saturday, when a cold front is expected to push off the coast. Most of the models are predicting the formation of a low pressure system along the tail end of this front by Sunday. This low may be an ordinary extratropical storm--or possibly a subtropical storm--due to the presence of high wind shear. NHC has put a Hurricane Hunter aircraft on standby to investigate the region on Sunday afternoon, if necessary. Even if the low is extratropical, it may be able to suck up plenty of tropical moisture and douse the mid-Atlantic coast and/or New England with heavy rains as early as Monday.

Cosme to skirt Hawaii
Residents of the Hawaiian Islands can relax a bit now, as it appears that Tropical Depression Cosme, will pass well south of the Big Island on Saturday. The edges of the outermost spiral bands will probably bring rains of 1-3 inches to the east side of the Big Island. Wind shear has fallen to 5-10 knots, and ocean temperatures are beginning to warm to 80F under the storm, and I expect Cosme will regain minimal tropical storm strength by Saturday. Satellite imagery of the storm shows that the amount of heavy thunderstorm activity has remained about constant so far today.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

Sign In or Register Sign In or Register

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 69 - 19

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7Blog Index

69. Bonedog
3:40 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
It shows on the 850mb Vort models to head due north with a slight retrograde into the Gulf Of MAINE. I dont think it will be tropical probably extratropical. It did not show on sea level pressure maps except for a circular line around 1000mb. Looks like a rain and gust wind event if anything
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
68. Drakoen
3:41 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
I want to see what the 12z runs do with this.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
66. Thundercloud01221991
3:32 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Posted By: RL3AO at 11:07 PM GMT on July 19, 2007.
The NHC TWO Alert Scale






looks like we are between Blue and Yellow
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
65. initforwaves
3:36 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
StormW...great blog, good to hear your take on things and how each forecasting component ties into your view...I've learned more terminology from reading it in the week I've been here than I could in a year of schooling
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
63. Drakoen
3:34 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
i don't think whatever develops out of that wave north of P.R. will be significant.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
62. guygee
3:33 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
"Dr. Turner is deputy director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology"

LOL. Big difference between NTIS (yesterday's blog) and NIST. Simple typo, but thank you for clearing up the confusion.
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3434
60. charley04survivor
3:33 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Where does it show the wave coming up Bonedog? Where is it headed? Of course things will start heating up as soon as I go out of town. My wife is scared!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
59. Bonedog
11:33 AM EDT on July 20, 2007
just took a look and all 4 models CMC,GFS,NGP and UKM all show a spin up from the wave at 54 hrs. Grantyed it shows on the 850mb vort models not the SLP ones but gets you thinking. Also the same models show spin up from the frontal system about to pass off the coast this saturday
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
57. ryang
11:29 AM AST on July 20, 2007
1130 AM EDT FRI JUL 20 2007




Member Since: Posts: Comments:
56. Drakoen
3:29 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Still not impressing me...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
54. Drakoen
3:27 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Posted By: StormW at 3:26 PM GMT on July 20, 2007.

Morning Drak, jp, WPB, and all!

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
53. WPBHurricane05
11:26 AM EDT on July 20, 2007
Good morning Storm!!
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
51. moonlightcowboy
3:24 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Thanks, StormW. I do like the EUMETSAT link for viewing dust and catching the storms coming off the African coast.

Jp, much respect, man!

...gotta run, meeting to go to...bbl.

Have a GR8 TGIF, everyone!!!
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29617
50. WPBHurricane05
11:25 AM EDT on July 20, 2007
Look at the 24 hour loop, it seems to start blooming once it hits water........
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
49. charley04survivor
3:24 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Unfortunately in Florida I believe property taxes are also tied to hurricanes. If the government run property insurer can't pay its claims, guess who has to? The taxpayers of Florida.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
48. Drakoen
3:20 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Its needs to sustain itself to get my interest. These thing look good when they are on/near Africa and then die out in a few hours. We will see what happens.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
46. Drakoen
3:18 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
MLC usually has the EUMSTAT link...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
45. WPBHurricane05
11:17 AM EDT on July 20, 2007
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
43. Drakoen
3:15 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
42. G35Wayne
3:14 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Wow that wave really died out. I thought it was looking really good last night and that it might be a cane!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
41. CJ5
3:02 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
I still do not see anything significant in the testimony. I read alot of Bill was like this or Bill was like that but I do not see any specifics. Waahahahhaha...I can't concentrate on analyzing this storm because there is disruption in the room. Give me a break!

It is obvious the Bill may have not been the right choice but there seems to be to many chiefs and not enough indians at the NHC.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
40. Patrap
10:01 AM CDT on July 20, 2007
Here WPB the story..Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
39. moonlightcowboy
3:01 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Must've been a couple of miles then!
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29617
38. Patrap
9:57 AM CDT on July 20, 2007
More info from Yesterday here..second story down.Highly recomended Link.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
37. Thundercloud01221991
2:57 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
cosme just keeps going and going look at this


then click 2007 archive and you will see that cosme is like a cape verde hurricane just in the pacific ocean looks like it is going to make it into the WPac its 3rd basin
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
35. WPBHurricane05
10:59 AM EDT on July 20, 2007
QuikSCAT: Reprimand Bush, Not Hurricane Center Director

LOL Patrap where did you get that article?
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
33. moonlightcowboy
2:57 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Jp, it's a free country last time I checked. I can bash who I want, when I want, for whatever reason I choose. Not getting in a pissing match with you, hell, I like you.

I'm just saying that a good "team" has to have a good leader. Players respect and follow a good leader. Apparently, he missed by a mile!
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29617
32. Patrap
9:56 AM CDT on July 20, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
QuikSCAT: Reprimand Bush, Not Hurricane Center Director

The acting director of NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has reprimanded the director of the National Hurricane Center for telling the truth about the QuikSCAT satellite, which for years has provided the most reliable wind-speed measurements to predict where hurricanes will land: QuikSCAT has been on its last legs for months, it might fail at any moment, and NOAA has nothing in the works to replace it, this hurricane season or next.

In todays print edition The Houston Chronicle notes that an administration that brought us FEMAs disastrous response to Hurricane Katrinaand, I would add, broke every promise to New Orleans sincehas no business letting another incompetent bureaucrat drive NOAA to less effective hurricane readiness.

If anyone needs reprimanding, it acting NOAA Director Mary Glackenand the president who appointed her.

Straight shooter: Rather than reprimand outspoken Hurricane Center chief, superiors should heed his warnings.

Since assuming the highly visible directorship of the National Hurricane Center in Miami in January, Bill Proenza has been telling it like it is, much to the chagrin of his superiors at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Proenza, a four-decade weather service veteran, criticized NOAA for planning a multimillion-dollar public relations campaign and anniversary party while slashing $700,000 from the Hurricane Center's budget for improving storm forecasting technology. He questioned the decision to "rebrand" information coming out of the Hurricane Center as coming from NOAA, the parent agency.

Proenza has spoken out about the tenuous state of the aged QuikSCAT satellite that provides a data stream measuring wind speeds in developing cyclones. He also opposed plans to cut the flight time of hurricane hunter craft to 354 hours this year, less than half the time used during the record-setting 2005 Atlantic storm season.

For his efforts, acting NOAA Director Mary Glackin paid Proenza a visit last week and delivered a three-page letter of reprimand accusing him of issuing confusing statements that cast doubt about the agency's ability to accurately forecast storms. Unfazed, Proenza circulated the letter to his staff, telling reporters he would not be muzzled by agency bureaucrats.

Proenza says Glackin is not the first federal official to try to silence him. Earlier this spring another weather service staffer, Louis Uccellini, warned him that his statements about QuikSCAT were angering officials in the White House, the Commerce Department and NOAA. The director says he will not be silent on issues critical to saving lives and increasing the accuracy of his agency's forecasts.

Lawmakers in Florida on the county, state and federal level have rallied behind Proenza. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and several members of the state's congressional delegation warned against any attempt to replace the director. In a letter to Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, whose department oversees NOAA, Nelson stated, "Clearly there are parties within NOAA who don't appreciate having their shortcomings identified to the public and Congress. However, shooting the messenger is not an acceptable response."

Two years ago the nation saw a previously well-functioning Federal Emergency Management Agency fail to provide vital services during Hurricane Katrina because unqualified political cronies had been put in charge.

The National Hurricane Center has served the nation well, tracking and forecasting storms while minimizing loss of life. It would be a tragedy if Washington bureaucrats more interested in anniversary parties than in maintaining weather satellites usurped the center's independence.

Posted by Gerald T Floyd
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
28. Patrap
9:53 AM CDT on July 20, 2007
ANd then theres the Glacken connection..Hmmmm.what was her role before her new one,at NOAA?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
27. moonlightcowboy
2:52 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Jp, agreed! But, ANY director at NHC should always be lobbying for needed funds. At least he did part of his job right then.

Personally, I think he was a poor choice. And, apparently, the director's job there was a demotion for him. Someone was looking for somewhere to put this guy. Probably should go home now and write a book.

Not a good fit for the NHC's head job!
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29617
25. Thundercloud01221991
2:50 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
also visiting through that link will help me get a domain name for free
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
23. Thundercloud01221991
2:45 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
OK I have a partial domain name and should have a domain shortly but please visit this site


and to link to an individual page please right click and select show this frame only
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
22. moonlightcowboy
2:39 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Jp, apparently, he wasn't a good choice for leading the team at the NHC. Volatility is not an effective method of leadership.

And, I'm not sure "anything" has been done yet to improve the tools for the NHC, except have some gov't hearings! Right now, all he has caused is a waste of taxpayer dollars and create a lack of esteem at the NHC and a leery and weary public on the issue.

We'll have to see if they get new tools as a result. I doubt it. At least not from this. There's already the new GOES and else. Proenza didn't have anything to do with those "non-volatile" improvements.

Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29617
20. nash28
2:28 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
Not real impressed with that wave Papa.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
19. moonlightcowboy
2:27 PM GMT on July 20, 2007
TGIF bloggers <---------------FREE "Head On" for all!!! (should be...lol).
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29617

Viewing: 69 - 19

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7Blog Index

Top of Page

Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog


Dr. Masters (r) co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

Recent Posts

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Afternoon clouds over Southwest Puerto Rico
Storm clouds gathering over Half Dome
Sierra snow
snowman at Yosemite Falls