The cuts would force time-off for forecasters who track Mother Nature – who never takes time off.
“That day that NOAA wants to have the furlough, we can’t exactly say, “No, we need the tornado to wait for eight hours until we can call somebody in,'” he said.
An understaffed National Weather Service office means that severe weather warnings may not be issued at all. These are the same warnings that broadcast meteorologists bring to viewers.
“You’re talking in a large metropolitan area thousands and thousands of people that could be in the path of a tornado and you just don’t have the warning that is going out,” he said.
This potentially dangerous scenario comes with very poor timing locally.
“The four days that have been selected are two days in July, two days in August,” he said. “Those, climatologically, are the two months that we see second- and third-highest ranked that we see severe weather here in the Twin Cities area.”
And these furloughs could not only impact warning dissemination, but the quality of hurricane forecasts, aviation forecasts provided to local airports and lead to outages of radar and satellite data due to a shortage of employees available to fix glitches.