- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 26, 2004

Jim Lee makes sure local weather predictions for the Washington and Baltimore areas are timely and accurate as the new head of the local National Weather Service office.

Mr. Lee, 45, is the meteorologist in charge of the forecast center in Sterling, Va. Although he does not make all the forecast reports, which are up to seven days in advance, he has the final say regarding public information.

Mr. Lee, who has been on the job since Sept. 7, leads a staff of 24 and is responsible for reporting weather patterns affecting counties in the Baltimore and Washington area to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia and into West Virginia. The center also tracks and predicts water levels for major rivers and bays in the area.

“That’s the big thing we’re tracking,” with remnants of hurricanes such as Ivan and Jeanne hitting the East Coast and bringing threats of flooding to local residents, Mr. Lee said.

He has years of experience with the National Weather Service, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is an agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Before taking his new position, Mr. Lee worked at the National Weather Service’s headquarters in Silver Spring as chief of the Fire and Public Weather Services branch. Other posts included seven years as science and operations officer at the weather forecast office in Taunton, Mass.

Besides keeping up with weather patterns, Mr. Lee stays abreast of developments in weather tracking systems.

“The science is ever-changing in our technology, and I have to make sure our staff is up to speed” on the newest weather devices. The center is now as accurate with its three- and four-day forecasts as it was with its two-day forecasts 15 years ago, he said.

“We’re very accurate, but that doesn’t mean we don’t miss,” Mr. Lee said.

Dean Gulezian, the Eastern Region director for the National Weather Service, chose Mr. Lee because of his experience with the agency and his leadership skills.

“It’s very important for these field managers to have excellent perspective on what to accomplish organizationally and why. Jim has the perspective,” Mr. Gulezian said.

Mr. Lee’s promotion was approved by National Weather Service Director David L. Jones.

“We are honored to have Jim Lee serving in this important and visible role,” he said.

Mr. Lee lives in Ashburn, Va., with his wife and 10-year-old son.

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