Here's one silver lining from the brutal severe weather of the weather of the last several weeks: It will keep the climate and weather scientists at the NOAA in business, despite budget cuts that had been mandated by the government's sequestration. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced they will cancel the planned furlough of 12,000 workers, so that the agency will remain at full strength throughout the summer storm season.
The House subcommittee that oversees the NOAA's budget says the agency will be given more "wiggle room" to adjust its funding so that they can honor the sequester cuts without actually losing any people, even temporarily. Every one of the agency's employees — including hundreds of meteorologists — were supposed to be sent home for four days in July and August, in an attempt to meet that across aboard budget cuts imposed by the Congress earlier this year. All government agencies were forced to either lay off workers or implement furloughs in an effort to save money, but so far only the FAA and the NOAA have been formal reprieves to keep workers on the job.
A memo from NOAA Administrator Kathy Sullivan said, "The events over the past week, including more devastating tornadoes tonight in Oklahoma and Missouri, remind us how important every single employee within NOAA is to the health, safety and well-being of this nation." It's just unfortunate that took the deaths of dozen of people for Congress to recognize the importance of studying and understanding our weather. At least 16 people were killed in the most recent tornado outbreak on Friday, including three notable storm experts who were tracking tornadoes in Oklahoma.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.