National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Kevin Kodama

Location: Honolulu, HI
Honolulu Weather Forecast Office (WFO)
Job Title: Senior Service Hydrologist

Educational Background:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington
  • Master’s Degree in Meteorology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa

Describe the career path that led you to your current job with the National Weather Service.

  • Weather Officer, United States Air Force
  • Graduate Research Assistant, University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Research Assistant, Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research
  • General Forecaster, Honolulu Forecast Office
  • Senior Service Hydrologist, Honolulu Forecast Office

What do you do for the NWS?

  • I manage the hydrology program for the NWS Pacific Region with emphasis on Hawaii. This includes running data networks with responsibilities covering budget, installation, maintenance, property agreements, and data ingest and display.
  • I develop office-specific operational flash flood and drought monitoring and forecast techniques, training, and procedures, and help issue hydrologic warnings during heavy rain events.
  • I'm also certified as a general forecaster and a hurricane forecaster.

What was the most interesting, exciting, or impactful weather/water event you experienced while working for the NWS and why does it stand out?

  • In April 2018, I worked a flash flood event in which nearly 50 inches of rain fell in 24-hours. It set a new U.S. record for the highest 24-hour rainfall.
  • On March 9, 2021, I issued a Flash Flood Warning on a record-breaking flood with enough lead time to allow emergency managers to evacuate the town of Haleiwa on Oahu. Although there was significant damage, no lives were lost.
  • I worked a shift on which I issued a rare Hawaii tornado warning that verified with lead time.
  • My Decision Support Service briefing for the 2010-2011 wet season resulted in actions that helped save millions of dollars in the Oahu construction industry through mitigation efforts.
  • You feel like your efforts make a difference during these events.

What made you decide to pursue a career with the NWS?

  • Since a young age I've been interested in working in a science-related field, and weather is always changing to keep things interesting.

What do you like most about working for the NWS?

  • I enjoy my relationships with key stakeholders in the local community. I also enjoy when the office comes together as a team during significant weather events.

What advice do you have for someone interested in a career with the NWS?

  • Be flexible in the path you take to get to the NWS.

What training or coursework would you recommend to someone interested in following your career path?

  • In addition to your hydrology and meteorology course work, develop skills in computer programming and public speaking.