Gilbert Clark, 93, long-time hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center, died on Monday, August 8, 2016. Clark was well-respected among hurricane scientists for his forecasting ability and his willingness to mentor meteorological students. He was also well-known to the public for his often trenchant observations about hurricanes in newspapers and on radio and television.
Clark grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas. In high school, his musical instructor was Robert H. Simpson. Like Simpson, Clark chose a career in the United States Weather Bureau. He was working as an aviation forecaster in Chicago in 1955 when Simpson requested that Clark be hired as part of the newly formed National Hurricane Research Project. His assignment was to work at the Miami Hurricane Warning Center to gather historical information on past hurricanes and create microfilm rolls of the records for easy reference. He continued to work at the Miami Center as a forecaster and eventually became one of the first hurricane specialists when Dr. Simpson became director of the National Hurricane Center.
Clark retired in 1989, after forty years of Government service. His namesake, Hurricane Gilbert had ravaged the Caribbean the previous year and set a new low-pressure record for the Atlantic, but Clark regretted that he had been out sick during the storm’s rampage. He remained active in the Miami area for many years after retiring, but moved to Pearsall, Texas, to be near his daughter in later years.
Publications by Gil:
Hubert, L. F. and G. B. Clark, “The Hurricane Surge, an Interim Report”, U.S. Dept. of Commerce Weather Bureau, Washington, DC, 1955
Clark, G. B., R. A. Case, “Florida hurricanes”, NOAA, Miami, FL, 28 p. : ill., maps, 1985
Clark, G. B., “Hurricanes in the Caribbean Sea”, NOAA, Miami, FL, 17 p. : ill., maps, 1988