Possible cuts for National Weather Service meteorologists - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Possible cuts for National Weather Service meteorologists

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SHELBY COUNTY - AL -

 

Big cuts could hit agencies that issue storm warnings. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration -or NOAA- has proposed furloughs for it's employees.  Sequestration and budget cuts are to blame.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Central Alabama say it could be a serious issue. They're already under staffed and more reductions during tornado and hurricane season means a greater risk for inaccurate storm predictions.

"Oh my goodness it's 3/4 of a mile wide!" a meteorologist said as the tornado approached Moore, Ok.

Their words became a life or death warning for people in Oklahoma.

"Funnel cloud that has just developed," another meteorologist reported. "It appears to be on the ground in Oklahoma City, this just minutes after the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for metropolitan Oklahoma City."

Meteorologists, who received warnings from the National Weather Service, gave people in Moore the details of that deadly F-5 tornado.

But those meteorologists may face serous cuts. A proposal from NOAA to begin 4 day unpaid furloughs affects nearly 12,000 people.

"We're concerned personally for ourselves, we're concerned about the job we do in providing the services we provide and deliver those accurate warnings," Michael Garrison, Meteorologist, National Weather Service, Birmingham said.

The Birmingham office is already stretched thin....

"If we have furloughs on top of these staffing shortages that we currently have, and you mix in a severe weather event, it's a real possibility it could create some problems in delivering those services," Garrison said.

After jobs were cut, proposed furloughs could mean less accuracy in forecasting right in the heart of severe weather season.

"The main concern we have is that we won't have enough staffing available to deliver accurate forecasts and severe weather warnings in the event of a major situation," Garrison said.

The National Weather Service says the cuts could come between July and September.

 

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