NOAA admits that they are having challenges providing real-time and correct weather forecasts due to budget restraints.
Natural disasters, such as the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma, last May 23, 2013, are truly inevitable. In the event when natural environmental hazards come into play, teams of weather forecasters always come to the rescue of many people by warning them about the possibility of danger. However, with the recent implementation of the $85 billion across-the-board spending cuts or "sequesters", forecasters may not be adequately prepared for upcoming natural disasters.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) suffered a 7 percent reduction on its fiscal year 2013 budget. Because of this, NOAA considers to implement agency wide furloughs, or mandatory leave days.
Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank said in LiveScience that if the sequesters would push through, up to 2,600 NOAA employees would be furloughed (by as much as 6.5 days), approximately 2,700 positions would remain unfilled, and there would be about 1,400 fewer contractors. It will also limit hurricane reconnaissance flights by NOAA aircraft, as well as the maintenance and operations of the national radar network and weather-monitoring systems, which may result in longer service outages or restrict forecasters' access to weather data.
The budget cuts would also hinder the maintenance of weather forecasting equipment. Presently, many of the country's weather satellites are aging and are due for replacement. The sequester could delay the production and deployment of two new weather satellites, the GOES-R series, by two to three years, which, in turn, could result to a "satellite gap."
With reduced personnel and equipment maintenance, the impacts could be dire, not just for predicting tornadoes like the one that hit Moore but for hurricanes and other weather disturbances as well. Now that NOAA itself admitted that they are unable to provide accurate reports, this implies that the lives of the Americans are in threat as disasters strike. The government has not provided any comment yet about the matter.