Hydrologist Reginna Cabrera (Photo: NWS CR)
(August 13, 2012) - Reggina Cabrera has come full circle. When she came to the United States from Santiago, Chile, in 1984 to participate in World Meteorological Organization, or WMO, training, she had her first contact with the National Weather Service at the Southeast River Forecast Center, in Peachtree City, Ga. That is the very same River Forecast Center that Cabrera will soon lead as hydrologist-in-charge.
As Cabrera tells it, "I came from Chile in 1984 to participate in WMO training for international students and afterwards I was sent to the Southeast River Forecast Center for on-the-job training. That was my first time in a River Forecast Center and today that is the one I am coming back to lead."
A native of Santiago, Cabrera received her bachelor's degree in hydraulic engineering at the University of Chile and worked for the Ministry of Public Works in Santiago as a hydrologist for the Direccion General de Aguas. In 1984, soon after her WMO training, she moved to the United States, where she received her master's degree in environmental and civil engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Cabrera started her career in this country at the U.S. Geological Survey, where she worked modeling groundwater availability in the coastal plain of Georgia. She joined the NWS in 1994 as a senior hydrologist, at the Southeast River Forecast Center. She moved to the NWS Office of Hydrologic Development in Silver Spring, Md., in 2006, where she served as leader of the Hydrologic Group, part of the Hydrologic Science and Modeling Branch.
Cabrera is currently serving as chief of the NWS Eastern Region's Hydrologic Services Division in Bohemia, N.Y. Cabrera said she's looking forward to her next stop at the Southeast River Forecast Center.
"These are exciting times for the hydrology program," she said. "A new hydrologic forecast system, Community Hydrologic Prediction System, also known as CHPS, is already in operations, collaboration among the federal water agencies is the highest it's ever been and a new National Water Center is being built."
Cabrera added that, for her there is no better place to participate and benefit from these efforts than at a field office. "Therefore, I am looking forward to be working with the staff at the Southeast River Forecast Center."
Cabrera has been a member of the U.S. delegation to the WMO Commission for Hydrology for the past eight years. She has also been involved in many NWS international activities such as helping to establish the first River Forecast Center in Nicaragua. She also led an international project between the U.S. and Vietnam, which resulted in the development of a flood prediction system for Vietnam's Red River.
"This is my return to the Southern Region family," said Cabrera, "and I want to share the experience I have gained with my colleagues at the River Forecast Center where I started my NWS career."