Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., said, "The tornadoes earlier this week underscore the life and safety mission that NWS employees perform."

Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., said, "The tornadoes earlier this week underscore the life and safety mission that NWS employees perform." Alex Brandon/AP file photo

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It’s No Time to Furlough Weather Service Employees, Lawmaker Says

Oklahoma tornado underscores agency’s safety mission, Rep. Wolf writes.

Virginia Republican Rep. Frank Wolf already thought National Weather Service furloughs were a bad idea, and severe weather in Oklahoma has only made him more sure.

"The tornadoes earlier this week underscore the life and safety mission that NWS employees perform,” Wolf said in his most recent letter to Rebecca Blank, acting secretary of the Commerce Department, which includes NWS. “There should be no higher priority at the department than ensuring that these critical services are maintained.”

Employees at NWS and its parent agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, face four furlough days through September. Wolf has asked Blank in numerous letters to find a way to avoid these furloughs.

"The severe weather events in Oklahoma this week have further convinced me that we should not take any chance that avoidable furloughs might result in a degradation of weather prediction and forecasting services,” he said in the letter dated Wednesday.