National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Andrew Devanas

Location: Key West, FL
Key West Weather Forecast Office (WFO)
Job Title: Science and Operations Officer (SOO)
Andrew Devanas
Andrew Devanas

Educational Background

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Meteorology from Florida State University
  • Master’s Degree in Meteorology from Florida State University

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

  • After working closely with the NWS during my years as the State Meteorologist with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, a position opened up with the NWS in Key West. As Key West was one of my favorite places as a kid, and I've been interested in the SOO position and worked with the Florida SOOs for years, I decided to make the jump over to the federal government.

What do you do for the NWS?

  • I recognize deficiencies in operations and devise strategies to address these deficiencies, whether it's through research, training, or outreach.

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

  • Hurricane Wilma. It was our fourth hurricane in four months (Dennis, Rita, Katrina, and Wilma) that impacted the Florida Keys that year and the fifth named storm in five months. The staff was, without question, burned out by October and the residents of the Keys were weary from taking protective actions. We had spend days sleeping in the office during the season. Wilma was a late October storm and turned out to be the worst of the year. Regardless, the WFO staff performed flawlessly as the exceptional professionals they are.

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

  • My father was a meteorologist with the Navy and then on radio and TV, working for awhile at CBS TV station in New York City. I was always interested in meteorology from a background sense for that reason, but didn't make a decision until my sophomore year in college. After finding I enjoyed mathematics, physics, and chemistry more than my liberal arts classes (although I did toy with majoring in psychology), meteorology seemed a natural fit, and something with which I was most comfortable.

What do you like most about working for the NWS?

  • I greatly enjoy working with my colleagues to develop training initiatives, both locally and nationally, and working with the staff at WFO Key West on local research, training, and outreach projects.

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

  • For someone pursuing a SOO position, I believe a graduate degree in Meteorology or Atmospheric Science to be a critical foundation.
  • For those interested in other positions with the NWS, I would advise them to become involved as much as possible in opportunities inside and outside of your university. Become involved in local American Meteorological Society (AMS) chapters, participate in the national AMS conference, or work with a professor on a local project. Increase your visibility.

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

  • Of course, a Bachelor's Degree in meteorology is a minimum requirement, but I would also recommend diversity in your coursework, outside of required coursework, that will become marketable at a later stage. Technical skills in programming, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), or media are some examples of skills that will help your resume become more noticeable.