PUNXSUTAWNEY—On Monday, Feb. 1, the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center inducted Louis W. Uccellini, Ph. D., the director of the National Weather Service and the assistant director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) into the Meteorologist Hall of Fame. He is the thirteenth member of the Hall of Fame, which honors meteorologists, scientists, and weather professionals who have made significant contributions to the science of weather. On hand that day to pay tribute to Dr. Uccellini was Punxsutawney Phil, whose annual forecasts about the length of winter are closely watched around the world.
Dr. Uccellini’s interest in weather began early on as he was growing up on Long Island, N.Y. In 1954, Hurricane Carol made landfall on Long Island producing extensive damage, and the following year, Tropical Storm Diane produced record amounts of rainfall in the area. In 1960, Hurricane Donna made a big impression on young Uccellini as, over the course of several days, it produced damage from Florida to New England and passed directly over Long Island. Three significant winter storms during that same decade furthered Uccellini’s interest in meteorology.
Uccellini received his Bachelor of Science, Master, and Ph.D. degrees—all in meteorology—from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He began his career in weather in 1978 at Goddard Space Flight Center’s Laboratory for Atmospheres in Maryland. In 1989, he became the chief of the Meteorological Operations Division at the National Weather Service (NWS), and in 1994, director of its Office of Meteorology. In 1999, Uccellini was made director of the NWS National Centers for Environmental Prediction. Then, in February of 2013, he became the assistant NOAA administrator for weather services and the 16th director of the NWS.
In accepting the position, Uccellini said, “It’s an honor to lead such a prestigious agency with the unbeatable mission of protecting lives and livelihoods. Our eyes remain locked on the future to ensure a National Weather Service that is second to none and supports a weather-ready nation.”
The author of more than 60 journal articles and chapters in books, Uccellini is known for co-authoring the widely acclaimed two-volume book, Northeast Snowstorms. He is still fascinated by snow and the forecasting of it, and made several media appearances recently regarding the mid-Atlantic blizzard on Jan. 22-23.
Dr. Uccellini will enter the Meteorologist Hall of Fame alongside such notable figures of the weather world as Dr. Joel Myers, the founder of AccuWeather, Stephanie Abrams of The Weather Channel, and last year’s inductee, professor of geosciences and glaciologist, Dr. Richard Alley.
For more information on Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center visit Weatherdiscovery.org.