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Longtime Boston weather service chief receives award from American Meteorological Society

Bob Thompson retired from National Weather Service in 2018.
Bob Thompson retired from National Weather Service in 2018.(National Weather Service/File)

Bob Thompson, the retired longtime head of the National Weather Service office that covers Boston and Southern New England, has been recognized for his service by the American Meteorological Society.

Thompson, who retired in 2018 after serving as meteorologist-in-charge of the office since 1989, received the Charles L. Mitchell Award, which the society gives to recognize long-term service by individuals engaged in weather forecasting.

Thompson was cited for “outstanding leadership of the Boston Weather Forecast Office, dedication to the National Weather Service mission, and service to the citizens of southern New England.”

Thompson received the award at the society’s annual convention in Phoenix on Wednesday night.

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He said in a telephone interview Thursday that he was “thankful and humbled” to receive the award.

“I think I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with such great people,” he said. He credited the work of weather service staff, the media, emergency managers, and other local, state, and federal government officials, saying they “made me look good.”

A Cohasset native, Thompson knew by about fifth grade that he wanted to pursue meteorology. He earned a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from Florida State University and a master’s degree in atmospheric science from the University of Washington. He also worked for the weather service in Reno; Albany, N.Y.; Silver Spring, Md.; and Anchorage.

He led the office through many notable storms in the region, including Hurricane Bob and the “Perfect Storm” of 1991, and more recently the Blizzard of 2013 and the nightmare winter of 2015.