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New Hurricane Chief Making Changes

April 24, 1998

MIAMI (AP) _ The acting director of the National Hurricane Center since September was made permanent and said he would focus on better communications with the public.

Jerry Jarrell, who handled much of the media duty at the center in recent years, suggested he might start posting hourly weather updates on the Internet when a storm watch or warning is in effect.

Former director Bob Burpee stepped down for health reasons.

Jarrell, whose appointment was announced by Commerce Secretary William Daley at the center Thursday, starts in the position immediately. Extended applause from the center’s staff greeted the announcement.

``I’m honored deeply,″ the 63-year-old Jarrell said. ``I’m a little choked up, too.″

Jarrell, who joined the National Hurricane Center as deputy director in 1988, earned masters of science degrees in meteorology and management from the Naval Postgraduate school in 1967 and 1973 and was an assistant professor there from 1972 to 1977. He was deputy director of the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Guam from 1970 to 1972 and a senior research scientist with Science Applications International Corp. in California.

In talking about improved communications, he said it’s not good enough to put out a forecast if it’s not heard. ``We need to improve the way we communicate with people.″

Jarrell also has looked into ways to make it easier and less expensive for small, local radio stations to get storm information.

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