The acting director of the National Weather Service re-reads How to Win Friends and Influence People once a year. According to the New York Times, Dale Carnegie’s perennial power-up playbook reminds Laura Furgione of the importance of emotional intelligence, a quality many call upon when they need shelter from the storm. Ms. Furgione’s storms, however, aren’t of the proverbial, personal, Dylanesque sort. Her weather is our weather. She appreciates the tinkling of soft rain just like the next reflective soul, but she geeks out on storms. She’s worked in Hawaii and North Carolina (Hurricane Alley) and later supervised the Alaska region where she was “responsible for all operational and scientific climatological, meteorological, hydrological, volcanic ash and tsunami warning programs for the state of Alaska and its surrounding waters.” That’s a lot of responsibility—Alaska being twice the size of Texas. Now she has more.
Ms. Furgione has a Masters degree in Public Administration (Alaska-Southeast) and a Bachelors in Atmospheric Science from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She’s more than a little concerned about the disappearing Arctic Ice. When your breathless local TV forecaster grabs a couple of pages from his intern in the middle of a big storm broadcast—just to make sure you’ve got the latest—those pages are on Furgione’s virtual stationery. She’s on the watchtower. She’s vigilant. She’s ready. She has kids too, so even when Mother Nature is being inscrutable, Furgione always has a conversation starter.