8 September 2019

American Meteorological Society & NWS Leadership Issue Statements Supporting NWS Employees/ WAPO- Forecasters Warned Not To Give Opinions on Forecast!

Posted by Dan Satterfield

The American Meteorological Society tonight posted a statement supporting the NWS office that was criticized by an unsigned NOAA statement Friday night. (See here and here).

In addition, an all-hands email was sent Saturday by NWS Director Uccellini and the Deputy Director/Executive Council. Note the sentence I highlighted in the email. Note the Washington Post is reporting tonight that top NOAA officials warned employees not to correct the President in emails last week. Telling a forecaster not to give his opinion if it was in odds with the President is truly mind-numbing.


Louis W. Uccellini, Director and Mary Erickson, Deputy Director

and the Executive Council – John Potts, John Murphy, Kevin Cooley, Peyton Robertson

Team NWS –

First and foremost, we want to acknowledge the challenging and trying time we have been through for Hurricane Dorian.  This storm presented forecast and warning challenges and tremendous stresses and strains to our workforce, given its complexity, duration and its toll on our time and talent. We want to assure you that we stand behind our entire workforce and the integrity of the forecast process, including the incredible scientific, technical and engineering skill you demonstrated for this event.  Your commitment and outstanding work were on display in everything we did from infrastructure support to forecasts and warnings to working with our core partners, providing travel logistics…and more during the long course of Hurricane Dorian.

You put your shoulders to the wheel for this hurricane—starting with ensuring the Puerto Rico radar was up, and releasing extra radiosondes throughout most of the event. Your tireless work ensured all partners and the general public were ready and responsive for wind, heavy rain, flash floods, storm surge and surf impacts, violent tornadoes and high wind and waves over the open ocean as Dorian moved toward Puerto Rico, then from the Bahamas toward and along the Florida coast, toward the Mid Atlantic region and finally toward the Northeast into Canada. We saw tremendous forecasts, warnings and amazing IDSS and public outreach at every level (NHC, other NCEP Centers, WFOs, RFCs, Water Center, ROCs and CWSUs) and at every turn, even in the face of a unique, complex and uncertain forecast.  We also saw actions taken through the night to quickly restore resilience and robustness to our information architecture. We are absolutely amazed at how you all pulled together to support one another to put the most accurate information science allows and put your best judgements into the hands of key decision makers who are making life/death decisions.

Given the possible tracks and impacts of this storm, our warnings and the resulting responses by the public safety officials up and down the East Coast, including focused evacuations, all demonstrated everything we have been working towards—continuously updated information, clear messaging of scenarios, and calls to action to support near precision level evacuations. International, Federal, State and local officials were at our side the entire time, listening and making impact-based decisions with a high level of specificity and at the right time to protect lives and property.  Now we continue to see… not only is it possible… you are making it happen.

We saw first hand that our integrated forecast process works, and we continue to embrace and uphold the essential integrity of the entire forecast process as it was applied by ALL NWS offices to ensure public safety first and foremost.  (My highlighting) Suffice it to say, it takes the entire team to achieve these repeated levels of success and we want you all to know it is recognized and honored.

The NWS leadership team is proud of your service, expertise and relentless dedication to our mission. You are leading us into the future—and displaying clearly what building a Weather Ready Nation looks like.  We honorably met the mission of the NWS for Dorian, and have again shown how vital the NWS is to public safety.

We are grateful to each and every one of you, each and every day.

— Louis, Mary, and the NWS Executive Council – John Potts, John Murphy, Kevin Cooley, Peyton Robertson

Full disclosure: I am a member of the AMS and hold an AMS CBM Seal and served as chair of the AMS Comm. on Station Science.