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Threatening the 'Warnings Upon Which the Country Depends,' Trump Budget Would Axe Nearly 250 Weather Forecasters

"We can't take any more cuts and still do the job that the American public needs us to do," says Dan Sobien, president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization

This visible image of Hurricane Maria was taken from NOAA's GOES East satellite on Sept. 18, 2017. (Photo: NASA/NOAA GOES Project)

This visible image of Hurricane Maria was taken from NOAA's GOES East satellite on Sept. 18, 2017. (Photo: NASA/NOAA GOES Project)

Among the agencies slated for deep cuts in President Donald Trump's "morally bankrupt" budget proposal is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The National Weather Service (NWS), which is part of the NOAA, faces a proposed 8 percent cut compared to 2017 levels, which would mean slashing 355 jobs, including those of 248 forecasters.

"The proposed NWS cuts are especially troubling given that the nation just saw its most expensive year for weather disasters on record." The proposal suggests (pdf) that the staff reduction will make "the agency more effective and efficient to protect lives and property," though it also notes that "Every day, NWS forecasters issue public, aviation, marine, fire weather, climate, space weather, river, and flood forecasts and warnings for the protection of life, property, and the enhancement of the national economy."

According to Dan Sobien, president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization, "We can't take any more cuts and still do the job that the American public needs us to do—there simply will not be the staff available on duty to issue the forecasts and warnings upon which the country depends."

The budget proposal comes shortly after the NOAA said 2017 broke the record for costliest weather-related disasters.

"The proposed NWS cuts are especially troubling given that the nation just saw its most expensive year for weather disasters on record," said Bob Henson of Weather Underground. "The NWS forecasters I know are passionate about their jobs and dedicated to serving the public. They've also been stretched thin by understaffing. If we want a world-class weather service, we ought to fully fund it."

Among the other cuts the NWS are an $11 million hit to the agency's tsunami warning program and a $15 million cut in its surface and marine observations program.

Overall, the NOAA faces a 37 percent cut compared to 2017 levels—a level Ocean Conservancy's Addie Haughey described as "shocking."

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