National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Date Posted: May 18, 2012

NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., today announced Rick Knabb, Ph.D., as the next director of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center in Miami. Knabb will start his duties on June 4.

“When hurricanes threaten our coastal communities, those in harm’s way look to NOAA’s National Hurricane Center for life-saving information,” said Lubchenco. “Rick personifies that calm, clear and trusted voice that the nation has come to rely on. 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.”

Knabb returns to NOAA after most recently serving as the on-air tropical weather expert for The Weather Channel in Atlanta since May 2010. Prior to that, Knabb was deputy director of NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu, and before that, he had a distinguished career at the National Hurricane Center in Miami as a senior hurricane specialist and the science and operations officer.

Knabb succeeds Bill Read, who retires June 2. “I thank Bill Read for his tireless work throughout his distinguished career with the National Weather Service, including more than four years as director of the National Hurricane Center overseeing 63 tropical systems in the Atlantic Basin alone,” added Lubchenco.

Born just outside of Chicago, Knabb grew up in Coral Springs, Fla., near Ft. 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.

"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."

The National Hurricane Center is a component of the National Weather Service’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction. The Center’s mission is to save lives, mitigate property loss, and improve economic efficiency by issuing the best watches, warnings, forecasts, and analyses of hazardous tropical weather and by increasing understanding of these hazards, enabling communities to be safe from tropical weather threats. The National Hurricane Center is co-located with the National Weather Service Miami-South Florida forecast office on the campus of Florida International University.

The National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. It operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy. Working with partners, the National Weather Service is building a Weather-Ready Nation to support community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather. Visit us online at and on Facebook.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on FacebookTwitter and our other social media channels.