Southwest Virginia native named Director of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center

The Flood of ‘85 destroyed his Michael Brennan’s grandmother’s house, thus thrusting him into a career of tropical meteorology

Michael Brennan, graduate of Cave Spring High School, becomes the Director of National Hurricane Center (Copyright 2023 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

ROANOKE, Va. – Michael Brennan spent his childhood living in Roanoke and Botetourt Counties, graduating from Cave Spring High School in the ‘90s.

Most recently, he’s been given the prestigious title of Director of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center.

As a seven-year-old, Brennan recalls a key experience that thrust him into becoming a tropical weather expert.

“I think back to my childhood in Southwest Virginia, and heavy rain and flooding were probably the biggest things I recall. The 1985 Flood – my grandmother lost her home in that event. That was related to the remnants of a tropical cyclone that made landfall along the Gulf Coast.”

Brennan has taken on many roles in his past 15 years with the National Hurricane Center, but none more important than his current role.

He tells 10 News that the National Hurricane Center is tasked with forecasting the correct path and intensity of storms, but also being a calm and reasonable voice for the U.S. and other international waters.

For our area in particular, Brennan says heavy rain and flooding are the main things to watch for when tracking landfalling tropical systems.

“Over the last 10 years in Virginia, there have been 14 fatalities related to tropical cyclones in some way shape or form. Ten of those 14 have been due to freshwater flooding. Five of those were in Hurricane Michael.”

He also says to be aware of rip currents and beach flags when vacationing along the East Coast, even if there’s a storm that’s 100 miles offshore.

About the Author

Meteorologist Chris Michaels is an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Certified Broadcaster, forecasting weather conditions in southwest Virginia on WSLS 10 News from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays on Virginia Today.

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