Budgets storms at the National Weather Service are hardly rare events, but in the view of agency meteorologists, the recent ones have been almost Sandy-level .
Between September 2010 and January 2013, the agency lost close to 200 of its 3,900 non-management positions, according to Richard Hirn, general counsel for the National Weather Service Employees Organization.
The local Mount Holly office is down two people, and in Hirn’s view, the national staffing has reached “dangerous levels.”
While not addressing current staffing levels directly, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah says he will fight against any further cuts.
“We’re not letting this service deterioriate,” the Philadelphia Democrat said in an interview this week.
Fattah said the agency has a key ally in Congress – namely, him.
He is the ranking member on the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees weather service funding, and he says the feelings are bipartisan.
Fattah said that he and U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, a Virginia Republican, “said publicly that there will be no cut s to the National Weather Service or to any of our forecasting activities.”
He said that while people may disagree on the roles of government, no one argues against its role in forecasting the weather.
Said Fattah, “We have the finest weather system in the world.”