Meteorologist gets US award for work in forecasting hurricane storm surges

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A US meteorologist has received a major national honor for his work in predicting storm surges due to hurricanes.

Jamie R Rhome, from NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, has been awarded the Service to America medal, a civilian award given to government employees whose work “inspires other talented and dedicated individuals to go into public service”.

Rhome heads the hurricane center’s Storm Surge Unit, which is responsible for putting out official storm surge forecasts during tropical cyclone events. Its work also supports NOAA’s hurricane warning program and helps with US post-storm response and recovery.

Outside hurricane season, Rhome leads storm surge research and development activities at the hurricane center, where he has worked since 1999. In this role Rhome has overseen the implementation of two core storm surge products used by NOAA and the US National Weather Service.

The first is the Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map, a visual display of potential flood heights launched in 2016. The second product was the incorporation, in 2017, of storm surge watches and warnings for the US coast into the forecasting.

Rhome, who also serves on a team in the WMO aimed at improving storm surge forecasting in other countries, especially in the Caribbean and Central America, said: “I am committed to protecting coastal residents from the deadly power of storm surge and I am fortunate to be in a position to make a difference.”

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