Saturday, February 19, 2011

Proposed National Weather Service Budget Cuts


4:15 PM Wednesday Update... I just got off the phone with Senator Mark Pryor.  He says he will vote against the House budget bill in its current form.  He tells me he understands the need for the National Weather Service to keep the people of Arkansas informed when severe weather hits.

The Senator says he understands the need to cut the budget and spending and hopes to work in a bipartisan way in the Senate to find a sensible alternative that does not have huge consequences.  He thinks there will be substantial modification to the current bill.

He also points out the cuts need to be made in the normal budget process and not cram it in to the next few months.

For Senator Boozman's response, read below.

1:30 PM Wednesday Update... I asked Senator Boozman's office for a statement regarding HR 1 and the proposed budget cuts to the National Weather Service office.  I told his office many Arkansans are concerned the local office will shut down during severe weather season.  Below is a statement I just received.  I also asked Senator Pryor's office and have not heard from them yet.

"Senator Boozman is committed to providing Arkansans with the resources they need to stay safe in times of dangerous weather conditions but understands that this must be done in a fiscally responsible manner. The bottom line is the government needs to balance the budget and spend less money. The people of Arkansas know we can’t continue to take in $2.2 trillion and spend $3.7 trillion. This is unsustainable and Senator Boozman is looking forward to being part of the discussions in the coming weeks as to how taxpayer dollars are spent while getting our fiscal house in order."

YOU CAN READ TWO SIDES OF THE STORY RIGHT HERE ON THE ARKANSAS WEATHER BLOG.  ( I still refuse to take sides... not my job.  I think this blog is a great way for people to express their opinion on the matter and I want the debate to continue).

Read the perspective from a meteorologist at the National Weather Service Office in North Little Rock.  CLICK HERE.

Read another perspective by clicking on the white bar above... "Ninja's Corner"

9 AM Monday Update... Here's an email I received from a retired NWS meteorologist, George Wilken.  He wanted me to post his thoughts here.

"The National Weather Service back in the 1970s had a total continental United States contingent of around 5000 employees. At present, the employment level is closer to 3500. Centralization and decentralization of offices has taken place in the past, but the current structure is deemed to be the most economical and serves the public better. Offices have been placed based on the location of the Doppler radars and the coverage pattern of the Dopplers. Proposals to temporarily or permanently close offices have been made in the past, but they were scrubbed due to public safety concerns. What has changed to make that position different? NOTHING.

A test case was also tried to allow someone other that the Weather Service (private firms created to issue warnings) to issue warnings. This turned into chaos and was quickly scrubbed. It turned into "I can issue more warnings than you can" contest. The NWS is the only weather warning agency, by act of Congress.

As far as another office taking over for around a month. The emergency structure where one office can operate in lieu of another being off-line is difficult to sustain for more than a week at a time. More staff has to be brought in at the adjacent office to cover the office that is closed. This poses a strain on the adjacent office and creates overtime. To not bring in more employees to cover the situation is to lessen coverage and raises the threat of public safety to a maximum. And, how is paying overtime saving money?

A typical Warning and Forecast Office in the National Weather Service works on electronics which work better when they are operating around the clock. To shut down a computer for nearly a month or to expect every electronic device to work flawlessly (without maintenance staff on hand) is kidding one's self. If a massive outbreak of severe weather occurred, it would take some effort to get all the electronics up and operating properly if an office were reactivated for the event. Given the time it takes to do this, it would be too late.

The typical office also has only so many workstations for warnings to be issued. If a massive outbreak occurs, an adjacent office covering a closed office would be quickly overwhelmed. Yes, another office can wade in to help, but familiarity of a county warning area is a highly desirable condition.

Can a few jobs be put on furlough or employees take lesser periods of time off and keep the office operating? It is difficult to start and stop your duties as weather forecaster. Weather offices are open 24 hours for a reason and especially in Arkansas,weather does not take a break, including severe weather of all kinds, including winter weather.

I worked the 1997 and 1999 tornado outbreaks in Arkansas. I shudder to think of how many would have died if timely warnings (some as much as 30 minutes before the event) were not issued. An adjacent office cannot closely watch another area and are not as familiar with an area as the parent office, including communications with city, county and state officials.

Yes, we all probably should take our lumps together as far as reducing the budget. However, I don't understand how handcuffing an agency like the National Weather Service will provide the budget relief expected. All it will serve is to produce a very dangerous situation for many people in very active severe weather states like Arkansas."

George R. Wilken
Science & Operations Officer (Meteorologist) - Retired

3 PM Sunday Update...Just wanted to clarify and respond to a post in the comment section from a former NWS meteorologist.  As part of the media, in my opinion, it would be inappropriate to inject my opinion in what is ultimately a political issue.  I never said I could take up the slack below.  There's no way any one person could attempt to do that.  I debated with myself to even put this topic on the blog. I wanted to get into the conversation because of fear generated in various social media outlets that I thought needed to be addressed.  I find it very hard to believe tornadic supercells crossing the state will go unwarned.   I just don't think it will ever come to that.

One more point I will bring up for debate...  Because local NWS meteorologists are very familiar with specific local terrain, small towns, recreation areas, etc.  they were able to issue flash flood warnings when the Camp Albert Pike flood event happened last June.  Do you think a meteorologist at another office would have that local knowledge?

I will start off by admitting that I haven't read the legislation and I will not take sides.  As a member of the media, when it comes to political issues, it's my professional duty to stay neutral.

I know most of the meteorologists at the National Weather Service office in North Little Rock and they are by far the most talented and professional office I have ever dealt with in my career.  I have worked in 3 television markets and have dealt with many offices in my 13 years of broadcasting.  The North Little Rock office is always friendly, responsive to questions, and do a fantastic job of issuing warnings when severe weather hits the Natural State.

The last thing I want to see are furloughs, cut backs, etc for them and their families.  It's something many have experienced in the economic downturn and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

If the office is shut down for a month, I highly doubt it would ever happen during severe weather season.  IF it does shut down, there are 4 other offices which control part of Arkansas.  One of those would take over.  There is precedent for this.   On April 3rd, 2008, a tornado was approaching the office in North Little Rock and they took cover.  While in their safe place, the National Weather Service office in Memphis took over responsibility for issuing warnings until it was safe for the staff at North Little Rock to resume.  I also recall the same happening with the office in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit.  In the event our local weather service office cannot issue warnings, the primary back up is Memphis.  If for some reason Memphis is not able to issue warnings, the secondary backup is Tulsa, OK, and the 3rd is Birmingham, AL.

What if NEXRAD radar goes does during a severe weather event and no one is able to repair it?  This is definitely a problem, but there are options.  While radars in Fort Smith, Shreveport, and Memphis can be utilized, accuracy is compromised by large distances away from thunderstorms.  To the best of my knowledge, all local television stations, including KATV Channel 7, have operational live radars in central Arkansas.

The purpose for this blog post is to calm fears.  Most of you who visit the blog are very passionate about weather.  When word of these POSSIBLE cutbacks got out, I think it naturally brings fear of the unknown.  I strongly feel if the cutbacks become reality, severe weather warnings will still be issued in a timely manner. Also no matter what happens, KATV will ALWAYS be on the air when tornado warnings are issued in our viewing area.

Whether you are for or against the proposed cuts, call your Senator, Representative, etc.  It's your government.


Unknown said...

We need to cut the foreign aid so we can fund our resources at home. The NWS is vital to the US. If anything, they need more money. Let's take those billions given to Egypt and put it in the weather service. Lawmakers are out of touch with everything.

Anonymous said...

This makes me mad, This will be just another stupid move by our government cutting funding to things we need, and giving more money to things we dont need

snowenthusiast said...

This is just sick. The last thing the government needs to do is cut the NWS budget down. I know somebody from Memphis NWS would come and fix the radar here if it would go down during a tornado outbreak, and I know katv has their own radar, but sources like wunderground's radar or radarscope won't work if the main radar is down.

The Weather Fanatic said...

This is certainly a touchy subject and rightfully so. The gov't has put this country in more debt over the past 8 years that it will be next to impossible to see a surplus in the next 10 to 15 years at a minimum. With that said, certain programs have to go. Shutting down offices for a month may work if it's done around the "slow periods" of the seasons. For us in Arkansas, why not do it during July and August? Hopefully they are considering that but the gov probably doesn't care about when to do this based on climate trends, so let the debate begin. The further south you go, Hurricanes come into play, so it will have to be more selective-again the gov't doesn't care about climatology. I think it will be toughest for our neighbors along the Gulf Coast because of this. The next 3 months will be the most active for Severe Weather, and you would literally have to pick your poison on which offices to close. I think we will be ok here, but this will cause a stink for many along the Gulf Coast if they start shutting down in the next few weeks. Peak severe weather season is rapidly approaching and then you have the Hurricane season to deal with. If it were me, I'd start shutting down offices to the north and gradually work towards the southern and eastern part of the country in the middle part of the summer. Tornados and flooding kill people, so will the Gov't take this into consideration on when to shut down offices? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

The Weather Fanatic

Former NWS Employee said...

If every member of congress and the senate were to cut 2 staffers, the savings in salary and benefits would just about make up the cuts to the NWS budget.

You cannot plan to shut down an office with a long term planning schedule. Weather patterns are not that reliable to plan 3 months out that it is time to close LR in July. Seems to me that severe T-storms occur that month and every month and tornadoes too.

There is plenty of other fat that should be trimmed first. How do you expect to retain a highly educated workforce if they are without pay for 1/12 of the year. These people have mortgages, car notes, and student loans to pay.

There are other programs more deserving of cuts.

Television talking heads cannot make up the difference that these highly trained and dedicted professonals provide. Only a couple of the TV people have a real meteorological education.

Todd, I am surprised and very disappointed that you think you can take up the slack. But you watch, these people will continue to help you shine on air by providing record information, storm reports, and other misc. facts you use to make yourself look good. Sad, sad, sad, I will never have the respect for you that I did before this blog. A good QB supports his O-line, I would think a TV met would support their local NWS office.

jimmylee42 said...

With all the real waste in government spending, hate to see NWS take this kind of hit. I am with those who say cut the spending overseas.

Back to weather and something to watch. We will probably have another freeze or two or three in LR and NLR. But, if we don't, we would set records at both stations for the earliest late freeze of any year. The records are Feb 19th 1883 for Little Rock and Feb 14th 1981 for the NLR NWS. Our last freeze was February 12 for both stations so far this year.

Anonymous said...

There are so many other things that could be cut. There is no doubt there is government waste but cutting useful and vital government programs is the last thing we need to be doing. And.. why not cut defense? I read somewhere that we could cut defense in half and still have the strongest military in the world and be able to help pay off the massive debt we have. Of course, that's usually never on the table. Cutting the NWS budget is irresponsible as is cutting the budget of the EPA. It's not only counter productive it's anti-environment and dangerous. And before anyone goes off into a tizzy, I'm not a "hippie" or a "liberal" I'm just an American.

WxWatcher said...

Cutting the NWS budget is irresponsible and while we would be "ok," it still creates a risky environment. NWS plays a crucial role in protecting the lives of citizens when severe weather strikes. They are also cutting funding to other important departments like the EPA. EPA's goal is to protect the environment and human health and they want a huge cut to that program for what? Big tax breaks for corporations? Oh and I'm sure there are still $2,000 rolls of toliet paper still on the budget for the CIA but we just don't discuss those right? In this area specifically we depend on the local NWS office because of the constant uncertain weather patterns here. Arkansas weather is extremely unpredictable and forecasters and meterologists need all the help they can get. Good luck NWS folks. Praying the rhetoric will stop between both parties and the political games will end so they can do something more than just vote on an issue for political gain and start working for their constituents. That is after all what they are supposed to be doing.... right?

Anonymous said...

Todd u should stand up an be a man not a coward. u should support the nws an john robinson. all the help they gave channel 7. Look these budget cuts are a joke. The government is gone crazy. I bet something is gona happen wherr they will regret thete decesion.

Michael Hook said...

I have voiced my opinion and asked questions on Ninja's Corner. I will say that this is a great avenue for debate on this issue but am a little concerned by the unnamed "Former NWS Employee" for jumping all over Todd because he has an opinion that might not be the "correct" one. I thought Todd was rather neutral on the issue.

We all realize what a great job the NWS does but remember this when you jump on the media. It is the media that gets out your warnings that you issue. NOAA WX RADIO can't cover it all. You must work hand in hand with the media.

I understand your concern with this issue as it could directly impact you and the organization that you may have retired from or spent many years with.

I respect your opinion on the issue but not the attack on Todd Yakoubian.

If anything, he has been in the NWS's corner and consistently praises you for your fine work and dedication.

There is no need to hide behind "Former NWS Employee". Let us know who you are!

Michael Hook
Sherwood, Arkansas

Anonymous said...

Talk of budget cuts and government shutdowns have reached alarming proportions. Everyone acknowledges that cuts must be made, but to essential emergency services and agencies vital to our national security? It is not only tornadoes that you'd have to worry about if there large budget cuts across the board. The current legislation also puts the FBI and the Border Patrol on the chopping block. In order to meet the reductions proposed for the rest of the year, both agencies would have to lay off staff, and would have to cancel training academies for the rest of the year. Yes, by all means, cut the budget. But cut smarter. Tornadoes and Islamic militants don't go away because Congress tells them to.

Anonymous said...

I know some of the cuts will be painfull but we can all hurt a little now or maybe hurt a lot latter. I don't want anyone to you loose there job, but like many Americans I make less today than I did just 5 years ago.

Snowbird Bob said...

Hello Everyone, This is for the former NWS Employee, I respect your opinion & I really praise the hard work & hours that you have done over the years...Michael Hooks "Weather Ninja" post fits nice...But, I will put in my 2 cents... You need to got back & read all the Blog Post & Video Post that Todd, Has posted ever since he started this Blog & maybe longer..I have never read anything or has taken anything he has said, where he is trying to take the job away from the NWS, If you read CLOSER, All he has done is praised there work, He just cares about the people, & is trying to make sure that the people that is being covered by the NWS in his area, will not panic & that warnings & etc..will still get to the public.. & No, I don't like the idea of the NWS getting pay cuts, The NWS is one of the most important goverment agencies in the United States as far as the saftey of the people dealing with weather alertness...

Bob Read AKA Snowbird Bob
West Monroe, LA

Unknown said...

i think there are always options to make things more efficient... but shutting down offices, not doing as many weather balloons etc is not one of them.

Local offices know local issues better. Now do we really need the layout the way Little Rock, Shreevport, Lake Charles, Tulsa, etc layout is done I am not sure.

The thing is a few weeks ago i was thinking that we needed to get more out of the NWS not less. We need more data, more research and analysis, so we could get improved models and forecasts.

I know to do that they would need to be more efficient and/or more money.

Zac said...

The problem is the proposed budget cuts are little more than political theater. Cutting taxes and reducing budget deficits are always popular political rhetoric. The problem is that our military, public education and entitlement programs (Medicare, Medicaid, SSI etc.)constitute upwards of 85% of the federal budget and none of these institutions are on the chopping block (to any relevant extent anyways). Therefore, budget cut proposals are coming from the 10% of the cummulative budget referred to as discretionary spending. I just don't see cutting 30% from 10% of the federal budget as fiscally conservative enough to erase our deficits. Innovative ideas on our long term position in this global economy could yield much more productive results.

Anonymous said...

FORMER NWS EMPLOYEE SAID. I respect your opinions mr. Hook and yours to snowbird bob but i still stick to my views. Todd you are as wrong as the day is long you need to stand up and be a man not a little boy. Like i said before most of you weather men or ladies dont know a thing about weather. Not all but most. Todd i respect your work and what you try to do but thats as far as it goes.

Unknown said...

Maybe we should've fussed and threw our hands in the air when the nations deficit sky rocketed and we were bailing out the car companies and banks for bad business. Now we have to make hard decisions to cut down the spending and everyone has something to say. Everytime you turn the TV on you here about the nations debt and they have done nothing til now. Why did we let it get to this point. I think we all had "change" in our minds and hoping for the best. Anyone associate with the NWS would definately be upset and I don't blame them. They should be and so should the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Don't attack Todd. He is an employee of Channel 7, a "NEWS" Station. If only other "NEWS" organizations (i.e. FOX, CNN)reported the news instead of using it as a forum to advance a political agenda! What do you think would happen if Todd used this blog to voice his own political opinions? I think Channel 7 might tell him to take his blog somewhere else!

I, on the other hand, don't have to worry about what channel 7 thinks about me voicing my opinion.

Our senators and representatives, regardless of party affiliation, have one objective in mind - getting re-elected. Except for a few weather geeks and general aviation pilots, John Q. Public has only a vague idea about what NOAA/NWS actually does. There will be no grass roots movement, no demonstrations, and no call to oust the officials that voted for this cut. Without examining the other budget cuts being proposed, I feel pretty confident that they all fall in this category. Not one of our elected officials is going to propose a cut that would risk his chances of re-election. Do some of these cuts need to be made? Maybe. Do other cuts need to be made? Definitely. These cuts will not be made based on what should happen, they will be based on what our elected officials think they can get away with and still be re-elected. I know government spending is completely out of control. I really don't know what needs to be done. Unfortunately, I have absolutely no confidence that the people we sent to Washington will do the right thing....and I personally don't think this cut to NOAA/NWS is the right thing.

To shamelessy use a "weather" metaphor for all these cuts - It's like dipping a cup of water out of the Mississippi at flood stage......

Susan in Heber Springs.....

Doug in HS said...

Thank you, Todd, for opening this topic for discussion, and for your very journalistic approach in doing so.

Jerry, Greenbrier AR said...

I can't believe that it has come to punches between the NWS and the media. It's plainly and simply pathetic that a NWS employee (past or present) is willing to attack a weatherman from the media.

I'm a farmer, cattleman, countryboy. I can survive. I don't really need you guys. I can USUALLY tell from the "feel" of the weather when there is danger. It's fine with me if you all disappear. I can manage.

Now when this mysterious former NWS guy starts attacking his own people (yes, the media are your own people as they relay your messages to the mass) I begin to think that something just might be wrong in this situation. Maybe the media guys aren't so bright. Maybe they are just puppets and because this one particular guy, (let's call him Todd), is the one you attack, maybe they whole thing is one big organizational mistake,like the big banks. They all know absolutely nothing about weather! They are just puppets!

Now I see the pictures of just how many NWS stations there are and it really seem so unnecessary for there to be so many on the east side of the US and so few on the west side. Sounds a bit fishy to me! But I get it. The mountains and the terrain affect the radar!

I wonder if the idiot weatherfolk from the local channels can provide the necessary coverage of not only broadcasting the alerts, but issuing them as well. And I began to think maybe it is possible that they can indeed do just that.

Maybe we don't need the NWS at all!

If the NWS really feels like the local wx guys are so infantile, when they are the ones who actually get the message out, not the NWS who relies on some special wx radio frequencies (which not everyone has). Maybe we just don't need them! Could that be their fear? I'm guessing here..

Now, let's get real about this subject. The NWS issues warnings not so life threatening like Lake Wind Advisories. They also issue life saving advisories like tornado warnings, advisories and severe wx warnings and advisories. Is this just a luxury we can throw away?

If we ask the average person how the NWS has changed their lives, just what would you get? Not
much, I would guess.

Now ask someone who heeded a tornado warning on May 2, 2008. "I was on my way to get fertilizer for my hayfields when I heard the warning on the radio. I stayed home and minutes later found out that the store I was going to was completely demolished in a tornado. The staff of the store found shelter because of the warnings issued by the NWS and there was not one person killed."

That was me who was headed to that store. I would have been caught in the tornado just as I had arrived at the store. No one could have told me it was coming, and the folks at the store would have already been in hiding. I would have been on my own, above ground and a tornado staring me in the face.

One instance where this country boy who is very tuned to the wx could have been taken by surprise.

Those whom you have helped are extremely grateful to you. Both to the NWS and the media.

Now I get that most of the media guys and gals don't know much about the weather. But it was a mere radio DJ that most likely saved my life! And it was only because the NWS issued a simple little tornado warning early in the morning on May 2, 2008. I did not get that warning from the NWS! I did not have my wx radio with me at that time. I had left the milk barn before the warning and was on my way to the feed store that was blown away minutes later.

Folks! You need to lighten up on those who help you. Stop looking down your nose at them! Perhaps they know nothing about wx, but I think they know more than you know they do. They are not the people you need to be attacking right now! You need to be getting the word out, not attacking those in the media, the one's who help you get the word out.

Stop bickering about the NWS being so superior to the media. It is a huge insult to those of us who depend on the media for YOUR warnings!

Anonymous said...

How many people get their weather info from NOAA weather radio vs. from local TV? Many more from TV is the answer. The Nat. Weather Service does a great job, but times change. Businesses cut back. The recession happened and its aftermath is still with us. If we need to have the NWS employees furloughed for a be it. Hopefully in a quiet weather month, but let's just bite the bullet people.

Todd Yakoubian said...

To Anonymous at 7:51AM... I want to make sure you understand that we in the media do NOT issue our own warnings. Those come directly from the National Weather Service Office in North Little Rock. It's extremely impt. to only get warnings from a central office to avoid confusion in deadly situations. When it comes to forecasting, most tv meteorolgists do their own forecasting while some rely on the NWS. Just wanted to make sure you understood that.

suprman071 said...

It is an absolute joke to cut funding from the NWS, just like cutting funding from the EPA. Republicans are only looking out for the big polluting companies and screwing the vast majority of Americans. Typical.

Anonymous said...

Some of the comments being made on the blog illustrate my previous point exactly. John Q. Public (and Anonymous at 7:51am) has only a vague idea of what the NWS does. My husband was a general aviation pilot for 25+ years. He relied on information like wind speed and direction at different altitudes, placement of weather fronts, etc., all provided by the NWS. He didn't contact Todd or anyone else in the local weather media for this information before filing a flight plan. He got it from the NWS.

I guess my point is that the NWS does more than just provide Todd and other local weather guys with watches and warnings regarding severe weather possibilities.

Those weather balloons they send up provide information like temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed and direction at various altitudes. People in aviation use this information. For example, a strong headwind would mean longer flying time, which would figure in to your calculation of how much fuel you would need. There may be dangerous winds at 15,000 feet so you fly at 10,000 feet instead.

If these budget cuts cause fewer weather balloons to go up, how will that affect safety in the skies?

I realize the aviation aspect of these budget cuts would directly affect a small percentage of the population. But who might it affect indirectly?

Jerry from Greenbrier might have a "feel" for dangerous weather without relying on the NWS, but I bet a small plane buried nose down among his cattle would be a complete surprise.

We all seem to assume we know what the NWS does, but do we? Maybe we (myself included, because I don't know everthing) should do a little more research before deciding what we can or can't do without.....

susan in heber......

Todd Yakoubian said...

Susan in Heber brings up a very good point and something I haven't talked much about. Warnings and local weather forecasts are only a small portion of the things the NWS does. Aviation forecasts, balloon launches, ASOS maintenance, storm spotter training, storm survey's, etc. The list goes on and on.

Michael Hook said...

The media and the NWS go hand in hand. They both need each other and I believe they support each other.

In this case I think it is ridiculous for someone to criticize Todd Yakoubian because he hasn't come out and tried to swing people to support the NW. That somehow he is a coward and afraid to take a stand.

This blog is a tool that he is using to allow you to publicly voice your opinion. I know how he feels about the NWS and it is very positive.

I also know that I think that Gov may be a little too big and that what makes them any different from the thousands of Americans that find out every day that they must take a wage cut or that they may have to pay more for health insurance (if they even have it).

There are several media outlets that you can choose from if are looking for someone to try to sway public opinion one way or another. I happen to appreciate one that stays neutral and gives both sides an opportunity to speak out.

I happen to be in favor of spending our money on needed agencies here instead of wasting it in some other area of the world where they don't give a damn about us.

If you feel the NWS deserves to be fully funded, then I encourage you to do some research and find out if they are good stewards with the money they receive or if maybe there is some area that they might be able to trim a little. Then contact your congressman or senator and let you know how you feel about it. Don't get caught up in the Republicans only care about the rich or Democrats only want to spend. Act for yourself and your tax money. Speak and be heard!

But don't get mad just because someone doesn't agree with your position. Be open minded and lets build a better United States.

Now...let's get back to weather.

Anonymous said...

To me these are some of the more important reasons for the very existence of the NWS. The taxpayer funded NWS is the infra-structure for "ALL" weather related information that is used by media and research meteorologists nationwide. The National Weather Service operates and maintains observation equipment, Doppler Radar, satellite systems, and computers systems that provide the model data and the ability to collects, quality control and then disseminates this data to users worldwide. Without this data NO meteorologist in the nation would be able to predict the weather very effectively. Add to this the warning capability and you have a government organization that is vital to the commerce of the country and to the safety of the public.

Can it be run more efficiently? I certainly believe so. The problem is that although the NWS has lived within its means very well for a government agency the past several years, the payroll must come out of what's allotted to the agency. It takes money to keep quality meteorologists and unfortunately that take's a substantial chunk of the annual budget.

Weatherclipper said...

Sorry I am a little late to the party on the NWS budget cuts. First of all I want to say it’s ridiculous to cut NWS budget. The value of the NWS is not up for debate as far as I am concerned. The NWS provides excellent value and life saving warnings. They are a great source of local weather forecast and discussion information on pending weather events. NOAA Weather Radio formed my interest in weather and provided basic education for me as a young boy growing up 2 miles from the office. I think congress should focus on other non essential budgets to cut that will have a bigger impact.

Todd, thanks for being a responsible media outlet and bringing this to our attention. I would not expect you to make a public statement of your personal opinion on this issue since you are a public figure and represent KATV, and not the NWS or a political organization. Your passion for weather and professionalism is unmatched in the Central Arkansas Market. You keep doing your thing and don’t worry about an Anonymous Former NWS Employee who hides his identity and lacks the ability to debate the issues without personal attacks. I know you don’t need me to defend you, but I have no desire to read personal attacks on this weather blog.

Former NWS Employee, why do you elevate yourself and set yourself so high above everyone else? What makes you and expert and a creditable source? You claim to be a former NSW Employee. You could have been the janitor or senior forecaster for all we know. I lost all respect for you when you used personal attacks to launch your position on the debate. You have not represented your peers at the NWS Office by taking this approach, and I think you owe Todd an apology for the personal attacks. It is sad, sad, sad, to see a retired NWS Office Employee stoop to personal attacks on a local TV Met to make your point about budget cuts. I am glad you read the blog. It must be providing some value to you and others in Arkansas. I hope we hear from you again, but without the personal attacks. I will be pulling for the good people at the NWS to keep their jobs and continue to provide great service to the people of Central Arkansas.

Bobby Powers a.k.a weatherclipper

Jerry, Greenbrier AR said...

I made a comment earlier this week that did not show up as intended. Late that night, long past my bedtime I had finished typing it and clicked on the “post” icon. It was then I found out that I had rattled on well past the length limit for a single post. The comment was three thoughts put together, originally. I could not edit it down enough to fit the constraints, so I just deleted the first two thoughts entirely and left the last part. Much to my surprise when I read the comment today, I found that a portion of the deleted part somehow made it through. I guess I didn’t highlight all the way to the beginning as I should have. I had only deleted a small part in the middle. The remains that went through was one big confusing mess and has been taken the wrong way from it‘s original intention. A bit embarrassing to say the least.

For the most part, I’ll skip over the part about the former NWS guy‘s comments, I‘m over that. The second part was intended to make a point about how the technology of weather forecasting has been improving steadily, however, we have always been able to manage, even before the technology existed. There was a reference to the “Hillbilly Weather Rock” (which was deleted) in which a rock is hanging from a tree limb. If the rock is wet, it’s raining, if it is swinging, it’s windy, etc. I was trying to say people who pay attention to what is going on outside can make some simple conclusions about the weather.

The original thought in simple words is this: “Without the tools and experience the NWS has, we would not be able to predict bad weather days in advance.” And it came off as me saying I can predict tornados and I have no need for the NWS. That was certainly NOT my intention! I gave the example of the tornado which I could have driven right into it’s path had it not been for a warning on the radio.

I have a lot of respect for what the NWS does, and for the weathermen and women on TV and the radio DJ’s who pass on the severe weather alerts. I also have a lot of respect for the storm chasers out there. You all are *crazy*, but I’m glad you do what you do!

Anonymous said...

Next election checklist:

1. Vote *FOR* Pryor.
2. Vote *AGAINST* Boozman


Anonymous said...

Typical political rhetoric. I suppose we need to give them time to digest the potential for political fallout before trying to pin them down. At least Pryor's comments had the ring of coming from a human being. Boozman's sounded as though it came from the single cell organism the republican party has become, marching in lock-step to talking points provided by FOX news....

To those who have commented that they don't appreciate a "weather" blog discussing "politics" - I think Todd established this particular post for discussing the budget cuts to the NWS. Inevitably, this kind of post will have a political skew. I'll keep my "political" comments on this post, and make only weather related comments on the weather posts. Those with political sensitivities can avoid this post and stick to the weather posts....

Susan in Heber......

JENNIFER said...

Love your Blog, keep up the good work!

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