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:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


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