National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Wintry Weather In the West; Increasing Threat For Severe Thunderstorms In the South/Southeast Through Monday

In the West, locally heavy snow is expected in the mountains this weekend, along with cold and windy conditions more typical of February than March. Meanwhile, conditions will be conducive to severe thunderstorms this weekend in parts of the southern Plains and the lower MS Valley. By Monday, significant severe thunderstorms, including strong tornadoes, are possible in the Southeast. Read More >

Dr. William M. Lapenta
Director, National Centers for Environmental Prediction


William Lapenta, Ph.D., is the director of NOAA‘s National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). NCEP delivers national and global weather, water, climate and space weather guidance, forecasts, warnings and analyses to help save lives and protect property. As director, Dr. Lapenta oversees the planning, science and technology, and operational responsibilities of NCEP’s nine national centers, which include the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK., Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, CO., and the Weather Prediction Center in College Park, MD.

Prior to becoming the NCEP director in January 2014, Dr. Lapenta served as the deputy and acting director of the NCEP Environmental Modeling Center (EMC) starting in October 2008.  The EMC is responsible for the development, enhancement, and maintenance of the operational environmental modeling systems that are a foundational component of the national and global weather enterprises.

Before arriving at NOAA in 2008, Dr. Lapenta worked at NASA for 20 years at the Marshall Space Flight Center where he served as the Deputy Manager of the Science and Exploration Research Office responsible for all research and development activities related to space science, earth science and space optics. While at NASA Dr. Lapenta also served as the Principal Investigator and Chief Scientist for the NASA Short-term Prediction Research and Transition (SPoRT) Center focused on transitioning NASA earth science assets into the NWS Weather Forecast Offices in the Southern US. During his tenure at NASA, Lapenta served as an adjunct professor at the University of Alabama, Huntsville from 1992 to 2008, where he taught graduate level courses in the atmospheric science department.  He has published numerous journal articles on numerical modeling, land/atmosphere interactions, and regional climate. 

Lapenta has a Ph.D. in meteorology from Pennsylvania State University (1990) and a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology with a minor in mathematics from the State University of New York at Oneonta (1983).

A native of Nyack, N.Y., Lapenta is currently a resident of Northern Virginia. He and his wife, Cathy (also a meteorologist), have two adult children.

Back to NWS Biographies Page