Stormy Weather Service

March 25, 1997

Stormy Weather Service

Four senior National Weather Service officials say budget cuts forcing layoffs and service reductions may have contributed to the deaths of three Coast Guard crewmen and will likely further weaken the service's prediction capabilities, possibly contributing to more death and injury, The Los Angeles Times reported today.

"It is unlikely that we will go through the rest of the winter storm season, the severe weather season and then the hurricane season, without one or more occurrences which will shine a harsh light on the weakened capabilities of the NWS," the officials said in a memo to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Chief D. James Baker. "There will be an increased probability of more instances in which people will die or suffer serious injury or property loss."

The Feb. 19 memo, which was made public Monday, is signed by Ronald D. McPherson, director of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Louis Boezi, deputy assistant administrator of the Weather Service for modernization; Thomas D. Potter, western region director, and Douglas H. Sargeant, director of the office of systems development. The memo was endorsed by NWS chief Elbert W. Friday Jr.

The Weather Service's $500 million budget is being cut by $27.5 million. To swallow that reduction, the service is cutting 43 positions, including jobs at the National Hurricane Center in Miami and the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma. The service's southern regional headquarters in Ft. Worth, Texas, responsible for 10 states from New Mexico to Florida, is being closed down. Its duties will be divided between offices in Bohemia, N.Y. and Kansas City, Mo.

"We believe strongly that these decisions are ill-advised and will increase the risk of unnecessary deaths, injuries and damage," the memo said.

McPherson, whose National Centers For Environmental Prediction are the starting point for most weather forecasting in the country, said he will resign if the budget cuts are not restored.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.