NOAA 2003-R220
Contact: Pat Slattery
NOAA News Releases 2003
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NOAA Weather Service) conferred its highest honor, the Isaac M. Cline Award, to Suzanne M. Fortin, the science and operations officer (SOO) at the weather service’s Kansas City Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Pleasant Hill, Mo. NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce.

Each year the NOAA Weather Service recognizes employees for operational excellence in the delivery of products and services in support of the weather service mission. Fortin received the Cline Award in the hydrology category for exceptional initiative, creativity, technical proficiency, productivity and teamwork.

“Suzanne Fortin’s efforts to improve our services for the American people is a testament to her selfless dedication,” said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Jack Kelly, director of the NOAA National Weather Service.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists, along with private and public meteorological organizations will benefit from this work. Fortin’s expertise in forecast office hydrologic responsibilities, computer applications and programming have helped make WFO Kansas City hydrologic operations more efficient and effective, improving the service provided to Weather Service users and the public, Kelly noted.

The practical implications of Fortin’s work are wide ranging. Thanks to Fortin’s efforts, according to Kelly, the public is now able to monitor the latest stream stages and forecasts through weather service Web sites, furthering the agency’s mission to protect lives and property during severe weather and floods.

The Isaac M. Cline Award is named for the man whose courage and dedication is credited with savings thousands of lives during the Galveston, Texas, hurricane of September 8, 1900. Cline was in charge of the Weather Bureau Office in Galveston when the bustling seaport city was struck by the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history. The death toll exceeded 8,000, but could have been much higher if not for Cline’s understanding of the weather and his initiative in warning the public.

Eight of the prestigious awards are presented each year in the following categories: meteorology; hydrometeorology; hydrology; support services; upper air observation; leadership; engineering, electronics, or facilities; and, program management and administration.

A 13-year weather service employee, Fortin earned a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma in 1987 and attained a masters degree in meteorology from OU in 1998. She began her NOAA career as a meteorologist aide at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in 1984. She served terms as a marine meteorologist and computer analyst with the NOAA National Ocean and Coastal Services. In October 1989, she became a meteorologist intern at the weather service office in Oklahoma City and progressed through several assignments to the position of lead forecaster at the Kansas City office in May 1999. She was selected as the Kansas City SOO in January 2003. Other assignments with the weather service include duty at the Tulsa WFO and the Arkansas Basin River Forecast Center in Tulsa. She also worked at the National Ocean Service’s Ocean Prediction Branch and the Estuarine and Ocean Physics Branch.

NOAA Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. 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.

The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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