NOAA 2001-028
Contact: Keli Tarp


NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla. has restructured its internal organization and moved several people to new positions to better reflect the organization's current and pending research programs.

The reorganization, which became effective Jan. 1, includes expansion from two to three science and technology divisions. In addition, it includes a plan to improve information technology services for all employees, provides managerial assistance to Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies employees working at the lab, increases the visibility of the field observing facilities, and presents a clearer picture of exactly what NSSL is and does to its customers and the community.

"The restructuring of the laboratory satisfies three important strategic goals," said James F. Kimpel, NSSL director. "It presents a clearer picture of what we do and makes radar research and development more visible; it utilizes the talents of existing personnel more fully; and it produces some cost savings through consolidating computer and telecommunications into a single entity."

Kevin Kelleher was promoted to deputy director. He will be responsible for the day to day operation of the laboratory as well as managing the administrative and information technology services groups.

The Stormscale Research and Applications Division has been split into two divisions. The first is the Warning Research and Development Division, managed by Don Burgess. The division performs research to gain understanding of severe and hazardous weather such as wind, hail, tornado, and rain; identifies severe weather signatures in observational data; and develops and transfers new scientific understanding, applications and techniques to the National Weather Service and other customers to enhance their capability to provide accurate warnings and nowcasts of hazardous weather.

The second is a new group, the Radar Research and Development Division, managed by former deputy director Doug Forsyth. The division will develop advanced radar systems such as dual polarized radar and phased array radar as well as lead the National Weather Service's development and migration of the NEXRAD (WSR-88D) radar to open systems technology. In addition, Forsyth has been named NSSL's executive director for facilities and strategic planning and will continue in his role as program manager for the Norman Building Consolidation Project, representing all five NOAA Weather Partners in the planning of the proposed National Weather Center facility.

The Mesoscale Research and Applications Division has been renamed the Forecast Research and Development Division and will continue to be managed by Dave Rust. The division conducts basic and applied research that leads to the improvement of forecast services within the National Weather Service for hazardous and severe weather events. The division uses a combination of observations and modeling to conduct its research and test new forecast techniques. In addition, Rust will be the leader of the Field Observing Facilities and Services Group.

The Central Support Services Group and the general computer support functions within all other divisions merged to form a new group called Information Technology Services. Gary Skaggs was named group leader. ITS will provide assistance and support to all of NSSL in the areas of computing, data management, networking, outreach, technical support, Internet/Intranet Web pages, graphic resources, field project support and other support services.

In conjunction with the reorganization, research meteorologist John Cortinas was promoted to assistant director of the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies. His responsibilities include helping with CIMMS proposal, grant and contract administration, and overseeing the annual performance appraisal process for CIMMS employees.

The mission of the National Severe Storms Laboratory is to enhance NOAA's capabilities to provide accurate and timely forecasts and warnings of hazardous weather events, including blizzards, ice storms, flash floods, tornadoes and lightning.

More information about the National Severe Storms Laboratory is available online at