Now Can We Stop Cutting the Weather Service?

Oklahoma tornado should be a warning: David Sirota
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2013 12:55 PM CDT
Now Can We Stop Cutting the Weather Service?
The rubble of a destroyed neighborhood lay where they fell a day earlier Tuesday, May 21, 2013, after a tornado moved through Moore, Okla.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

The National Weather Service had a warning in effect 16 minutes before yesterday's tragic Oklahoma tornado—but we may not be as prepared next time around, thanks to the sequester's 8.2% cut to the Weather Service, David Sirota writes on Salon. The organization representing weather service employees has warned that thanks to the cuts, it won't be able to maintain 24/7 operations at all of its offices—and overworked employees will likely miss weather warnings. "Though the last few years saw a record number of billion-dollar weather cataclysms, the weather service remains a perennial target for budget cuts," Sirota writes.

In fact, conservatives have even called for the Weather Service to be eliminated entirely. "It’s a classic self-fulfilling sophistry of the right: Ignore the positive work an agency does, keep the agency’s budget flat so that its capabilities do not keep up with the times, then cite the agency’s reduced capabilities as justification to keep cutting it," Sirota writes. But maybe yesterday's devastation will finally steer us away from that path. Consider just how bad it was—and, therefore, how much worse it could have been had our weather forecasting system been dismantled. Click for Sirota's full column. (Read more Oklahoma tornado stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.