NOAA 2004-R203
Contact: Ron Trumbla
NOAA News Releases 2004
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The American Meteorological Society (AMS) has selected Gary Grice, former deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS), Southern Region, as the recipient of this year’s Charles L. Mitchell Award. The award is given in recognition of long-term service in weather forecasting activities. He will be honored at an awards banquet tonight at the 84th Annual AMS Meeting at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle, Wash. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“I could not imagine anyone more deserving of this honor than Gary Grice,” said Bill Proenza, director, National Weather Service, Southern Region. “His accomplishments over a career of more than 35 years of federal service are nothing short of outstanding. He has excelled in every position he has held with the National Weather Service, consistently enhancing the quality of service provided to the American public.”

Grice had more than six years of experience as a climatologist, weather officer and quick response meteorologist for the U.S. Navy and Defense Intelligence Agency, before joining the National Weather Service at the Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Anchorage, Alaska in 1972. Between 1973 and 1987, he served as lead forecaster for the NWS forecast offices in Fairbanks, Alaska; Albuquerque, N.M.; and, San Antonio, Texas. He joined the Southern Region Headquarters (SRH) team in Fort Worth as risk reduction manager in 1987 and left seven years later to become the deputy director of the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, Okla. He returned to SRH in 1999 to assume his current position as deputy regional director.

Early in his career, Grice developed a keen interest in heavy precipitation and associated flash floods. That interest led to participation in original research and numerous studies resulting in new techniques to help forecasters analyze and forecast heavy rain events and subsequent flash floods. In recognition of his outstanding achievements in this area, Grice received the Department of Commerce Silver Medal and the AMS Francis W. Reichelderfer Award in1984. That same year, he served a member of a team of scientists visiting the People’s Republic of China to exchange ideas on heavy rain forecasting. He returned to China, on a similar mission, seven years later.

In 1989, he received a second Silver Medal for his work in helping to develop an Operational Meteorological Research Guide. The guide was distributed to every National Weather Service office in the United States as well as to meteorological departments in seven countries.

Grice was also awarded a Department of Commerce Bronze Medal in 1989, for overseeing the transfer of the National Severe Storms Forecast Center in Kansas City, Mo. to the SPC in Norman, Okla. As deputy director of the SPC, he continued to make significant contributions to enhancing the skills of NWS forecasters.

When the NWS launched its Modernization and Associated Restructuring (MAR) program in 1990, Grice led the transition trogram office in the southern region. In recognition of his many earlier contributions and his efforts in support of the massive restructuring of the NWS, he was named an AMS Fellow in 1994.

During his tenure as deputy director of the NWS Southern Region, he quickly realized the critical importance of developing employee leadership skills. In order to expand the ranks of highly motivated, creative employees, he led the development of an innovative southern region leadership program called BLAST (Building Leaders for A Solid Tomorrow). The BLAST program has since been recognized nationally as a model for spreading progressive leadership skills throughout the National Weather Service.

In recognition of his numerous scientific accomplishments, creative leadership skills and dedication to the National Weather Service mission of protecting life and property – Grice was honored again last year with the NOAA Distinguished Career Award.

NOAA’s National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world.

The Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 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.

The AMS, founded in 1919, is a scientific and professional organization that promotes the development and dissemination of information on atmospheric, oceanic, and hydrologic sciences. The Society publishes nine well-respected scientific journals, sponsors scientific conferences, and supports public education programs across the country. Additional information on the AMS, the Annual Meeting, and other award winners is available on the Web at:

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