WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – The National Hurricane Center has a new director, and he had to give up a spot on television to take the job. Former senior hurricane specialist Rick Knabb was named to the post Friday afternoon by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), ending a retirement from government service that sent him to The Weather Channel.

NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco said Knabb will start his duties on June 4.

Knabb retired from NOAA as deputy director of the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu, after serving for years at the National Hurricane Center in South Florida. After his retirement, he joined The Weather Channel in 2010, and served for 2 years as the Atlanta channel’s on-air tropical weather expert.

“Rick personifies that calm, clear and trusted voice that the nation has come to rely on,” said Lubchenco. “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 succeeds Bill Read who retires June 2.

Knabb grew up in Coral Springs and earned both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Meteorology from Florida State University.

One of the tasks of the NHC director is to appear on camera during times a tropical system threatens the US, a task most center directors have had to grow into. Knabb will be the first hurricane center boss to have had formal TV experience before taking the job.

“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.”


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