NOAA 2004-R204
Contact: Ron Trumbla
NOAA News Releases 2004
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs


The American Meteorological Society (AMS) has selected Joseph “John” Feldt, hydrologist-in-charge of the Southeast River Forecast Center (SERFC) in Atlanta, as the recipient of this year’s Francis W. Reichelderfer Award. Each year, the Reichelderfer Award is presented for distinguished environmental services to the nation. The SERFC is part of the Southern Region of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS). NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Feldt 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. The Reichelderfer Award is named for the man who headed the National Weather Service (formerly known as the U.S. Weather Bureau) for the longest period (1938 to 1963) in its 133 year history.

As hydrologist-in-charge of the SERFC, Feldt’s area of responsibility includes river basins in Virginia, North and South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Puerto Rico. One of the more diverse hydrologic regions in the nation, this vast area receives the majority of all land-falling tropical storms in the United States.

“John has remarkable enthusiasm and initiative and has developed many new methods to improve and deliver services to our customers, partners and the public,” said Bill Proenza, director, National Weather Service, Southern Region. “For example, his efforts have led to vast improvements in preparedness for heavy rainfall and inland flooding associated with land-falling tropical storms in the Southeastern United States.”

Feldt worked to include RFC hydrologists on the Hurricane Liasion Team at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami resulting in better understanding of the impacts of inland flooding by the NHC staff; the emergency management community; other federal, state and local officials; and, the public. He was also instrumental in the development of publications designed to depict the dangers from these storms and provide critical safety information.

A 26 year veteran of the National Weather Service, Feldt launched his career as a meteorologist intern in the Weather Forecast Office (WFO) St. Louis, Mo. (1979). He served as a forecaster at WFO Milwaukee (1980), lead forecaster at WFO Louisville, Ky. (1980-1983) and St. Louis (1984-1990), deputy meteorologist-in-charge (1990-1991) and meteorologist-in-charge (1991-1992) at WFO Topeka, Kansas. He was also the Iowa area manager and meteorologist-in-charge (1992-1997) before accepting his present position in 1997.

Feldt has been involved in some of the nation’s biggest flood events, including the Great Midwest Flood of 1993 and Hurricane Floyd in 1999. In addition to numerous personal certificates of recognition and letters of commendation, he is a recipient of the prestigious national Isaac Cline Award for leadership. Under his leadership, WFO Des Moines received the department of commerce gold medal for outstanding performance during the 1993 flood and the SERFC received the gold medal for outstanding performance during Hurricane Floyd. The SERFC also received three Department of Commerce bronze awards and a national Isaac Cline Award.

He has served on numerous special project teams and was one of the original facilitators of the NWS Southern Region “Building leaders for a Solid Tomorrow” (BLAST) program. This unique program provides detailed leadership training for NWS employees in the Region.

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:

On the Web:


NOAA National Weather Service Southern Region: