NOAA Budget Cuts to Hurt Louisiana Weather Forecasting

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Trump’s NOAA Budget Cuts Bad News for Weather Alert Services

President Donald Trump’s proposed funding cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) could hurt the National Weather Service, which sends out local weather forecasts.

The Trump administration wants to slash $250.0 million in funding to the NOAA, which has many worried that a shortage of funds may hinder the organization’s day-to-operations. The National Weather Service, which falls directly under the NOAA, may bear the brunt of the budget cuts.

The budget cuts could be particularly bad news for Louisiana. NOAA’s budget blue book also mentions that the federal funding cuts could force NOAA to shut down its tsunami warning centers located in Hawaii and Alaska. In addition, support for tsunami education and research may also be forced to be eliminated.

Louisiana, which faces the gulf coast, is exposed to the danger of a tsunami. According to the U.S Geologic Service, “the gulf coast of the U.S. is highly vulnerable to tsunami damage because major population centers and industrial facilities are located near the shoreline at low-lying elevations.”

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Likewise, weather buoys are also going to be cut back under Trump’s budget. The buoys are used by meteorologists to identify the strength of hurricanes and to forecast their future paths.

The NOAA budget blue book breaks down the various programs of the National Weather Service that will face cuts, including the following:

  • $28.9 million in cuts to “Observations,” which involves collecting data for weather warnings and forecasts;
  • $21.5 million in cuts to “Science and Technology Integration,” which involves advanced research and innovation in weather and climate predictions;
  • $15.5 million in cuts to “Analyze, Forecast and Support,” which involves converting observational data and model outputs into weather warnings and forecasts;
  • $13.0 million in cuts to “Systems Acquisition,” which involves programs and projects related to the agency’s ability to monitor and forecast weather; and
  •  $8.9 million in cuts to “Central Processing,”which involves processing data and running weather models.

Speaking about the budget proposal, Mike Smith, a meteorologist and Senior Vice President of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, said that the budget proposals have both good and bad aspects. However, he said that if the cuts are too large, the agency will have to demonstrate that by focusing its smaller pool of resources on trying to improve its hurricane and tornado forecasts.

Sources:

Proposed weather service budget cuts could impact Louisiana forecasting,” The Times-Picayune, June 29, 2017.

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Categories: Government Cutbacks, News

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