National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
 
Jamie Rhome

Location: Miami, FL
Office:
National Hurricane Center (NHC)
Job Title: Storm Surge Specialist/Team Lead


Educational Background:

  • Bachelor's Degree in Meteorology from North Carolina State University
  • Master's Degree in Meteorology from North Carolina State University

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

  • My first job out of college was with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doing air pollution dispersion modeling and forecasting in support of field studies. I then joined the NWS's National Hurricane Center (NHC) in 1999 and have held various positions here ever since (Surface Analyst, Marine Forecaster, Hurricane Specialist, and Storm Surge Specialist).

What do you do for the NWS?

  • I oversee the NHC’s Storm Surge Unit, which produces official storm surge forecasts during tropical cyclone threats to the United States, and facilitates post-storm response and recovery efforts. During the offseason, I lead storm surge research and development activities at the NHC, including updates to the storm surge modeling system, development of new products, and post-storm analysis and validation studies.

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

  • I've worked many landfalling hurricanes in my 16 years at NHC but Hurricane Sandy takes the cake. The scientific and forecasting aspects were among the most unique I've ever seen, given the convergence of barotropic and baroclinic dynamics. As if that wasn't enough, there were communication challenges of a rapidly evolving and complex system impacting the nation's largest metropolitan area. I'll never forget that storm.

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

  • As a kid, I loved winter weather. Looking back, I'm not certain if this was a fascination with weather or a fascination with snow days (i.e. missing school). Regardless, that interest manifested itself into a desire to predict weather which led me to study winter weather at North Carolina State University. Several high-profile hurricanes impacted NC during my undergraduate and graduate years, shifting my interest to tropical weather.

What do you like most about working for the NWS?

  • The people, their passion for the mission, and the people we serve. I travel extensively in this job and I really enjoy meeting other NWS employees and partners, such as emergency managers and the media. The NWS's commitment to its mission and service is totally addictive and our customers and external partners are first class.

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

  • Find a mentor, consider all jobs or assignments as you'll derive something from all of them, and put customers first.

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

  • For NWS employees: NOAA's Leadership Competency Development Program and NWS's BLAST Program.
  • For students or those interested in joining the NWS: multi-disciplinary studies are critical. Don't just focus on meteorology or even physical sciences. Effective communication is critical, so consider some of the social sciences as well.