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Budget Cuts Could Impact Weather Forecasts and Warnings

Proposed federal budget cuts could weaken the effectiveness of the National Weather Service in warning…

  • March 13, 2018

Proposed federal budget cuts could weaken the effectiveness of the National Weather Service in warning the public about dangerous weather events.

According to the organization that represents employees of the NWS, the Trump Administration’s proposed budget contains an 8% cut to National Weather Service funding.

This would lead to the elimination of hundreds of forecasters.

“Advance notice provided by weather forecasts enables the Nation’s leaders, decision makers, and media to provide better warnings and advisories to first responders, the public, and businesses. Getting this right reduces the catastrophic loss of human life and property and the damaging effects on the national economy.”

However, the President’s budget proposes a cut of 8% to funding for the National Weather Service next fiscal year, compared to FY 2017 enacted levels ($1,191 million vs. $1,097 million). See Appendix to Budget for Fiscal Year 2019 at 190-92.

These savings will be achieved by cutting 355 additional forecasters and other operational staff beyond the hundreds of operational positions that are already vacant, and closing forecast offices at night and weekends.

The National Weather Service will no longer be able to issue reliable forecasts or timely warnings of severe weather if these cuts are implemented, according to the union that represents the 3,500 forecasters and technicians at National Weather Service offices and forecasting centers nationwide, the employee group said.

“We can’t take any more cuts and still do the job that the American public needs us to do – there simply will not be the staff available on duty to issue the forecasts and warnings upon which the country depends,” said Dan Sobien, President of the National Weather Service Employees Organization.

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