National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Extreme Fire Weather Threat in Southern California; Chilly Weather for Much of U.S.; Heavy Rain in South Plains

Cold, Canadian air will cause Santa Ana winds to develop across southern California for extreme fire weather threats early this week, and critical Fire Weather threats through mid-week. This cold air is also plunging much of the U.S. below to much below normal temperatures, especially, across the High Plains. Heavy rains continue across the South Plains as moist air rides over this cold front. Read More >

Robert W. Maxson
Director of the NOAA Aviation Weather Center


Captain Robert W. Maxson, NOAA (retired) is the Director of the NOAA Aviation Weather Center located in Kansas City, Missouri, that issues critical aviation weather forecasts both domestically and globally and is one of two international World Area Forecast Centers designated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The Center also maintains an embedded Branch of meteorologists in the Federal Aviation Administration’s National Command Center in Warrenton, Virginia. In 2010, the Aviation Weather Center received the Department of Commerce Silver Medal for the development and implementation of the G-AIRMET, a graphical depiction of aviation in-flight hazards. The Aviation Weather Center also received the Bronze Medal for its service in the wake of the 2012 Fukushima tsunami.

From 2005 through 2008, he was a research pilot with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), operating C-130 and Gulfstream V aircraft in support of the weather, climate, and atmospheric research communities. A former director of the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center, Captain Maxson managed all NOAA aircraft activities as well as conducted hurricane surveillance missions in the NOAA G-IV jet aircraft. He holds multiple aircraft type ratings, and received the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal for missions flown into Hurricane ISABEL in 2003. The Aviation Operations Center was also awarded the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal for providing accurate and timely tropical cyclone data to the National Hurricane Center during the 2004 hurricane season. In addition to being qualified as a NOAA aviator, he was designated as a shipboard Senior Watch Officer Underway, and as a NOAA Unlimited Diver with mixed-gas and saturation endorsements.

Captain Maxson is a graduate of the Florida Institute of Technology (Physical Oceanography) and the United States Naval Postgraduate School (Physical Oceanography and Meteorology). Currently, he is a Ph.D. student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Aviation Safety and Human Factors).

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