Friday, December 26, 2014

New storm at weather service

Just in time for hurricane season, weather service proposes massive staff cuts.

New storm at weather service

To make up a $26 million budget deficit, the National Weather Service says it is considering forcing its entire 5,000 workforce to take 13 furlough days before the federal fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.

It's hard to know how much of this is budget brinkmanship, but the agency has weathered its share of troubles in recent months.

They include the threat of cuts to the technical staff; a financial brouhaha over the movement of funds, and the "retirement" of director Jack Hayes, announced late in the day on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.

Scott Smullen, spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, acknowleged today that the furloughs are under consideration.

In a statement, he said, "NOAA is committed to doing everything within its authority to avoid furloughs."

It is worth noting that the cuts would involve every office, including the National Hurricane Center during what is usually the peak hurricane period.

The weather-service union is not particularly happy about the proposal.

Said union president Dan Sobien, weather-service employees "are paying for the mistakes of the agency's leadership."

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
About this blog

Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

Reach Tony at twood@phillynews.com.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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