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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