Severely understaffed, The National Weather Service is feeling the heat

2017 that has seen $16B worth of natural disasters, and the US's chief weather agency, the National Weather Service, is “teetering on the brink of failure.”


October 27, 2017

In the midst of a tumultuous 2017 that has seen $16B worth of natural disasters, the nation’s chief weather agency, the National Weather Service, is “teetering on the brink of failure.”

According to the Washington Post, the federal agency responsible for providing forecasts and warning of dangerous weather is facing severe understaffing issues that are threatening to compromise its coverage.

Cloudy, with a chance of overtime

Over the past 2 years, the agency has seen a 57% increase in staff vacancies — and for current NWS workers, life’s not great right now.

“Some people have been denied vacations, because there are not enough bodies to fill shifts,” one employee told the Post. “I, myself, worked a 15-hour day about a week ago. You get a lot less sleep. You start to wonder if you’re safe on the road. You don’t see your loved ones…”

Yikes. What’s up?

In recent years, the NWS staff has been crimped by numerous hiring freezes, administration changes, and budget limitations.

In 2012, the agency was so desperate for funding that they shifted around money internally without the approval of Congress, leading to a widely-covered payroll scandal.

And all of this is starting to take a toll on the weather information we’re receiving: unless things change, they’ll have to start cutting corners on their reporting to compensate.

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