National Weather Service Forecasts Frustration of Federal Workers

The government may stop, but the weather will not.

It's why approximately 80 percent of National Weather Service employees remain hard at work tracking storms and issuing alerts.

A statement on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website says it will continue to be maintained because it contains information that will "protect life and property." But due to the shutdown, the meteorologists and researchers will not receive pay until Congress reaches a budget agreement. The National Weather Service is part of NOAA.

Last week, an employee in Anchorage, Alaska, inscribed "PLEASE PAY US" into a weather forecast, a move that has caused some fallout within the agency, said Dan Sobien, the national president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization.

"There's a pretty high level of frustration among people," Sobien said. "Any time there's a political disagreement in Washington, federal employees are getting kicked in the shins. That was the face of frustration."

Sobien added that the union does not endorse what the employee did. He has heard, however, people within the organization and in other federal agencies express their support, calling the employee "a hero."

Local newspapers have picked up on the humor of "essential" versus "nonessential" government functions in light of the shutdown. After reading why weather forecasts would continue to be issued during the D.C. standoff, Editor Kurt Hildebrand of the small-town Nevada newspaper The Record-Courier editorialized in the print edition:

"We're still getting National Weather Service forecasts, because they've been deemed essential due to the fact that we're still getting weather. Expect today's weather to be sunny and cool with a high temperature of 57 degrees. Wind will be out of the east at 10-15 mph, gusting to 25 mph."

Jokes aside, employees at the National Weather Service are feeling the pocketbook pain that has been expressed by many federal agency employees awaiting paychecks. As for when Congress will appropriate funding, the forecast is bleak.

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

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

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

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download

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