Gil Clark, hurricane specialist, passes on

(l. to r.) Gil Clark, Miles Lawrence, Bill Gray (photo by Bob Burpee, Aug. 9, 1994)
(l. to r.) Gil Clark, Miles Lawrence, Bill Gray
(photo by Bob Burpee, Aug. 9, 1994)

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.

Link to NHC’s tribute.

Link to Miami Herald story

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

One Reply to “Gil Clark, hurricane specialist, passes on”

  1. i am sadened to learn of this mans passing.living in south florida and having a great interest in tropical meteorology in the 1950’s – 1970’s era Gils name was notable. i am sure those active in the field today know of this pioneer.like am old friend – he will be missed!

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