National Weather Service Forecasts Frustration of Furloughed Workers

None

Left: Actual snow fall from February 6, 2010. Center: Forecast using NOAA' sattelite technology. Right: Forecast without using satellite data.
National Journal
Clara Ritger
See more stories about...
Clara Ritger
Oct. 10, 2013, 11:49 a.m.

The gov­ern­ment may stop, but the weath­er will not.

It’s why ap­prox­im­ately 80 per­cent of Na­tion­al Weath­er Ser­vice em­ploy­ees re­main hard at work track­ing storms and is­su­ing alerts.

A state­ment on the Na­tion­al Ocean­ic and At­mo­spher­ic Ad­min­is­tra­tion web­site says it will con­tin­ue to be main­tained be­cause it con­tains in­form­a­tion that will “pro­tect life and prop­erty.” But due to the shut­down, the met­eor­o­lo­gists and re­search­ers will not re­ceive pay un­til Con­gress reaches a budget agree­ment. The Na­tion­al Weath­er Ser­vice is part of NOAA.

Last week, an em­ploy­ee in An­chor­age, Alaska, in­scribed “PLEASE PAY US” in­to a weath­er fore­cast, a move that has caused some fal­lout with­in the agency, said Dan Sobi­en, the na­tion­al pres­id­ent of the Na­tion­al Weath­er Ser­vice Em­ploy­ees Or­gan­iz­a­tion.

“There’s a pretty high level of frus­tra­tion among people,” Sobi­en said. “Any time there’s a polit­ic­al dis­agree­ment in Wash­ing­ton, fed­er­al em­ploy­ees are get­ting kicked in the shins. That was the face of frus­tra­tion.”

Sobi­en ad­ded that the uni­on does not en­dorse what the em­ploy­ee did. He has heard, however, people with­in the or­gan­iz­a­tion and in oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies ex­press their sup­port, call­ing the em­ploy­ee “a hero.”

Loc­al news­pa­pers have picked up on the hu­mor of “es­sen­tial” versus “non­es­sen­tial” gov­ern­ment func­tions in light of the shut­down. After read­ing why weath­er fore­casts would con­tin­ue to be is­sued dur­ing the D.C. stan­doff, Ed­it­or Kurt Hildebrand of the small-town Nevada news­pa­per The Re­cord-Cour­i­er ed­it­or­i­al­ized in the print edi­tion:

“We’re still get­ting Na­tion­al Weath­er Ser­vice fore­casts, be­cause they’ve been deemed es­sen­tial due to the fact that we’re still get­ting weath­er. Ex­pect today’s weath­er to be sunny and cool with a high tem­per­at­ure of 57 de­grees. Wind will be out of the east at 10-15 mph, gust­ing to 25 mph.”

Jokes aside, em­ploy­ees at the Na­tion­al Weath­er Ser­vice are feel­ing the pock­et­book pain that has been ex­pressed by many fed­er­al agency em­ploy­ees await­ing paychecks. As for when Con­gress will ap­pro­pri­ate fund­ing, the fore­cast is bleak.

What We're Following See More »
‘PULLING A TRUMP’
GOP Budget Chiefs Won’t Invite Administration to Testify
23 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The administration will release its 2017 budget blueprint tomorrow, but the House and Senate budget committees won’t be inviting anyone from the White House to come talk about it. “The chairmen of the House and Senate Budget committees released a joint statement saying it simply wasn’t worth their time” to hear from OMB Director Shaun Donovan. Accusing the members of pulling a “Donald Trump,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the move “raises some questions about how confident they are about the kinds of arguments that they could make.”

Source:
A DARK CLOUD OVER TRUMP?
Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
19 hours ago
THE LATEST

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

Source:
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
A Shake-Up in the Offing in the Clinton Camp?
14 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.

Source:
THE LAST ROUND OF NEW HAMPSHIRE POLLS
Trump Is Still Ahead, but Who’s in Second?
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:

  • American Research Group’s tracking poll has Donald Trump in the lead with 30% support, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich tying for second place at 16%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 53%-41%.
  • The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
  • A Gravis poll puts Trump ahead with 28%, followed by Kasich with 17% and Rubio with 15%.
×