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New director appointed for the National Hurricane Center

From the Associated Press:

MIAMI (AP) — A veteran National Weather Service forecaster was named to a highly visible post Wednesday as head of the National Hurricane Center.

Bill Proenza, who is director of the National Weather Service's hurricane-vulnerable southern region, will replace the retiring Max Mayfield next month, U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez announced at the National Press Club in Washington.

Proenza takes over Jan. 3, when Mayfield steps down after 34 years at the center. Proenza will oversee a staff of meteorologists at the Miami-based center, work with emergency managers on hurricane preparedness programs in many coastal states and travel extensively to make residents aware of the dangers of hurricanes.

Proenza assumes a job with exposure mirroring the intensity of a given hurricane season. For Mayfield, who became director in May 2000, that meant enduring the brutal 2004 and 2005 storm seasons that made his face a familiar one on millions of Americans' televisions.

In Proenza's current post, he oversees nearly 1,000 workers spread across 10 states. He is based in Fort Worth.

Mayfield announced in August he would step down at the hurricane center, saying "I'm tired" after frenzied storm seasons and frequent traveling.

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