NOAA 2001-R288
Contact: Delores Clark


The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, will be renamed at a ceremony today to honor the memory of Richard "Dick" Hagemeyer, the U.S. Tsunami Program manager and former director of NOAA's National Weather Service Pacific Region.

Operated by the National Weather Service, an agency of the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the center will bear the name of the 51-year NOAA weather service veteran, who died Oct. 25.

"Dick's interest in NOAA and improving weather services in the Pacific region made him a valuable member of our management team," said Jack Kelly, director of NOAA's National Weather Service. "He was a dedicated and energetic public servant. He will be sorely missed."

Hagemeyer also served as the U.S. representative to the International Coordinating Group for the Tsunami Warning System in the Pacific at the time of his death. He chaired the 25-member-state organization for several years.

Established in 1948, the PTWC is the operational center for the Tsunami Warning System in the Pacific, and provides warnings for Pacific basin teletsunamis – tsunamis that can cause damage far away from their source – to almost every country around the Pacific rim and to most of the Pacific island states. As the Hawaii Regional Tsunami Warning Center, PTWC provides a more rapid warning for local tsunamis generated in Hawaiian waters.

During his half-century with NOAA's National Weather Service – then called the U.S. Weather Bureau – Hagemeyer managed multi-million dollar budgets and hundreds of employees. In these capacities, he amassed knowledge and experience that furthered tsunami research and warning systems around the world.

"He was a skilled administrator with many years of experience in budget planning and resource management," Kelly added. "He was also a meteorologist and understood the operational side of the NOAA Weather Service. His knowledge of weather forecasting, coupled with his fiscal acumen, was a great combination. Dick was a fixture here, well known and respected."

Hagemeyer's was also a former director of NOAA's National Weather Service Pacific Region and, for the past 19 years, oversaw weather services in Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. He was the only civilian member of the U.S. military's Pacific Command Meteorological Group.

"I still keep fresh in my mind the dedication and personal interest that Dick showed during an international tsunami meeting last December at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez," said Israel Matos, meteorologist-in-charge at the NOAA Weather Service forecast office in San Juan, Puerto Rico. "It was impressive how he lead the discussion and managed to come up with an agreeable approach to deal with the tsunami challenges in our region. The result was an unprecedented project proposal for a Tsunami Warning/Detection System for the Intra-Americas."

Slava Gusiakov, head of the Tsunami Laboratory at the Institute of Computational Mathematics and Mathematical Geophysics in Russia, said, "The success of our projects was due to his continuing support."

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Hagemeyer was a long-time resident of Hawaii Kai. He was known for having a genuine affection for the people who worked for him and the communities they served throughout the Pacific. He took pride in expanding meteorological training opportunities for Pacific Islanders, and ensuring that the jurisdictions he served received the benefits of the most advanced technology available.

The U.S. Tsunami Warning Program seeks to mitigate tsunami hazards. Research and development activities focus on an integrated approach to improving tsunami warning that factors in remote sensing with model and data assimilation to produce a tsunami forecast guidance.

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The NOAA Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

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