Sequester Threatens Weather Forecasting

Sequester Threatens Weather Forecasting (Image 1)

The Tornado Warning issued for Moore, Oklahoma, was in effect 16 minutes before the tornado actually hit.

This is better than the 13 minute average.  Hopefully, this means more people had more time than usual to evacuate or find safe shelter.

But what about next time?  Some we may not be as ready because of the latest budget cuts. 

Programs and staffing to support the National Weather Service have been slashed.  An 8.2 percent across-the-board cut in spending, from the so-called sequester, will trim an already financially depleted program. 

According to one report, this means there is no way the national weather service can maintain around-the-clock operations at its 122 forecasting offices.  This also means that meteorologists are going to be overworked, they are going to be tired, and they are going to miss warnings.

The American Institute of Physics says this could lead to a big problem.  This is its statement… “The government runs the risk of significantly increasing forecast error and, the government's ability to warn Americans across the country about high impact weather events, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, will be compromised.”

Some say sequestration increases the risk the U.S. won't be a weather-ready nation.

Another area hit… sequestration will reduce the number of flight hours for NOAA aircraft, which serve important missions such as hurricane reconnaissance and coastal surveying. 




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