Weather agency spared from furloughs after rash of tornadoes
Forecasters at the National Weather Service (NWS) will not be forced to take furloughs during the summer hurricane season following the recent destruction caused by tornadoes in Oklahoma, CNN reported on Saturday.
The NWS was part of the initial plan by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to impose as many as 20 mandatory days off without pay for its 12,000 employees in July and September, a move caused by federal budget cuts.
The cuts would have taken effect during what forecasters predicted would be an abnormally severe hurricane season.
But according to the Washington Post, Kathryn Sullivan, the NOAA’s acting administrator, did not discount future cost-cutting measures in an email sent to employees late Friday night.
“While this new plan allows us to avoid furloughs, sequestration remains an ongoing challenge,” Sullivan advised in her message. “We must all continue to scrutinize every expense and prioritize our most critical missions and essential operations.”
Lawmakers had lobbied for the NOAA to be exempt from the “sequester,” as the budget cuts have become known. The Post reported on May 22 that Rep. Frank Wolf (R-WV) urged the Commerce Department, which runs the agency, to reconsider the plan in the wake of the May 20 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma.