NOAA OWAQ extends its sincerest condolences to the family of Dr. William (Bill) Lapenta, Acting Director of the NOAA Research Office of Weather and Air Quality.
-Dr. Kandis Boyd, NOAA OWAQ Deputy Director
Bill Lapenta helped to predict and prepare for some of nature’s most dangerous phenomena at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, heading the national center that monitors hurricanes, ocean conditions and more. Yet, it was a weather phenomenon that may have caused his drowning Monday, as he was caught in rough surf with a heightened risk of rip currents along a North Carolina beach in Duck.
News that the prominent D.C.-area scientist died earlier this week, after being pulled unresponsive from hazardous waters, has shaken a scientific community that colleagues say loved and looked up to Lapenta — as both a top scientist driven to perfect the numbers behind NOAA’s analyses and a leader who cared first and foremost about people.
“The tragic loss of Bill Lapenta has left the weather community, myself included, in a state of shock,” wrote Neil Jacobs, the acting head of NOAA in an email to colleagues. “Bill was not only a dedicated coworker, but he was a great friend and fearless leader.”
Read more from The Washington Post article here.