Dr. Pedro Restrepo named hydrologist-in-charge at North Central River Forecast Center

Date Posted: August 16, 2012

Dr. Pedro Restrepo, a native of Colombia, has come a long way since he earned his undergraduate degree from the National University of Colombia in 1974. He was recently named to the hydrologist-in-charge position at the National Weather Service’s North Central River Forecast Center in Chanhassen, Minn. He comes to this position most recently as the senior scientist at the NWS Office of Hydrologic Development Hydrology Laboratory.

“I have had the opportunity of working closely with the NCRFC staff for the last few years,” said Restrepo, “and I am really excited about the opportunity to lead such a talented team.”

As a Fulbright scholar, Restrepo pursued graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in hydrology and water resources systems, in 1979 and 1982, respectively. His professional career covers national and international experience in the private sector, academia and in government. 

Before joining the NWS in 2003, Restrepo worked as a consulting engineer in developing and applying advanced hydrology and water resources techniques on projects in North, Central and South America, as well as Europe and Asia, for a number of customers, including the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, government agencies and the private sector. In addition to his consulting experience, he spent four years as a research faculty member in hydrology and water resources at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

In his capacity as senior scientist for the NWS Hydrology Laboratory, Restrepo has been in charge of providing overall science direction and advising the Hydrology Laboratory chief and the Office of Hydrologic Development director on science issues, including defining the Hydrology Program Strategic Science Plan.

“Some of the interesting activities in which I worked as senior scientist involved providing overall science direction for hydrologic research,” said Restrepo.  “I also co-organized the NOAA Science Challenge Workshop and the NOAA Water Science Challenge Workshop, and a number of other activities for NOAA leadership.”

Restrepo has lead a number of internal and collaborative projects, including the Community Hydrologic Prediction System Acceleration Team, the joint NOAA/USGS debris flow project, and the Office of Hydrologic Development’s international collaboration projects. He also has been the manager of the Office of Hydrologic Development’s collaborative research program, and has been in charge of coordinating with other federal agencies on joint projects to enhance the NOAA’s service to the nation.

Restrepo will be joining the North Central River Forecast Center staff in late September or early October and is looking forward to this new chapter in his career.

“Hydrologic forecasting within the NCRFC area presents some interesting challenges that I am looking forward to addressing in collaboration with OHD, the National Water Center, local universities, and, of course the NCRFC staff,” he said. “Those challenges include, among others, quantifying the changes to the hydrologic cycle caused by agricultural tile drains, accurately including the effect of frozen culverts on total runoff after melt-freeze cycles, the effect of wind on lake flooding and wave run up on levees.”