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National Weather Service: Furloughs Threaten Weather Forecasting

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Planned furloughs at National Weather Service offices across the nation and in St. Louis could compromise some forecasting functions.

That from the President of the National Weather Service Employees Organization Dan Sobien.

“It’s like playing chicken with the American public. They’re putting everyone’s lives at risk.” said Sobien.

He doesn’t think severe storm forecasting will be effected but services to farmers, truckers, first responders, even the courts could be effected.

He gives an example: In West Texas when a fertilizer plant exploded they needed continuous information on wind direction, humidity and the like to keep firefighters, rescuers and the public safe.

Another example: “Things like fixing the radar for example, which might have taken six hours before, might take six days because the guys that fix the radar might be furloughed.” said Sobien.

The Furloughs, four days out of each four month period, are to start around the 4th of July. He says it doesn’t sound like much but he says the National Weather Service office in St Louis is already stretched thin.

He says there are only just over twenty employees in the St. Louis office. that includes forecasters, supervisors, administrators and technicians.

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