NOAA 2005-R262
Contact: Ron Trumbla
NOAA News Releases 2005
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs


The Upper Air Team at NOAA’s National Weather Forecast Office in Little Rock, Ark., has been selected to receive a national Isaac M. Cline Award, the agency’s highest recognition for operational excellence. Honored in the Upper Air Observation category, the team consists of data acquisition program manager Jimmy Russell; hydrometeorological technicians Michael Reid and Michael Burleson; and meteorology intern Paul Iniguez.

“Our primary mission is to save lives and property, and the Cline Award recognizes the high level of proficiency in which National Weather Service employees carry out their tremendous responsibilities,” stated retired Air Force Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service.

The Little Rock Upper Air Team has been exemplary in its efforts to collect and provide radiosonde data (air pressure, relative humidity, temperature, wind speed and direction) to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction. NCEP monitors and evaluates upper air data on a daily, monthly and yearly basis and maintains station performance scores – with a perfect score being 300. As of June 2004, the 12 month average score for Little Rock was 295.12. It was the third highest score in the upper air network and the highest for stations in the contiguous 48 states.

The prestigious Isaac M. Cline Awards are named for the man whose courage and dedication is credited with saving thousands of lives during the Galveston, Texas, hurricane of 1900. Cline was in charge of the U.S. Weather Bureau (as the National Weather Service was known then) in Galveston when the popular coastal city was struck with the deadliest natural disaster in the nation’s history. The death toll exceeded 8,000, but could have been much higher if not for Cline’s acute understanding of the weather and his early hurricane warnings in an era when meteorology was in its infancy and ship-to-shore communications were non-existent.

“The memory of Isaac Cline has exemplified the devotion of duty and courage that is so much a part of the 134 year history of the National Weather Service,” said Bill Proenza, director, NOAA’s National Weather Service Southern Region. “It is fitting that we honor excellent employees like Jimmy Russell, Michael Reid, Michael Burleson and Paul Iniguez with awards that bear his name.”

Each year local, regional and national Cline Award recipients are chosen in eight categories including meteorology; hydrometeorology; engineering, electronics or facilities; hydrology; support services; program management and administration; upper air observation; and leadership. Presented to individuals and teams, the awards identify and recognize employees for operational excellence in the delivery of products and services in support of the NOAA National Weather Service mission.

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

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, 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 the nation’s coastal and marine resources.

On the Web:


NOAA’s National Weather Service: