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Weather Service Bracing for Furloughs

Flickr, Tim Patterson

Federal agencies are still dealing with the effects of across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration.

The National Weather Service was already under a hiring freeze and now faces furloughs -- mandatory unpaid days off.

Weather Service meteorologists are concerned about the effect that could have on their ability to keep the public informed.

Marianne Sutton is a spokesperson the National Weather Service Employees Organization who works at the Austin-San Antonio Forecast Office.

“Nobody in the National Weather Service has taken the job for money or for glory, that’s for sure," Sutton says, "but our concern with the reduced staffing is we are a 24/7 operation and we can’t just tell a tornado, you know, hey, hold on, wait until Monday when we have more people here.”

Sutton also says her organization is not asking for a bigger budget for the Weather Service and says there are ways to reduce costs – she cites NOAA research projects as an example – that don’t require cutting work hours at forecast offices. 

Trey Shaar is an All Things Considered producer, reporter and host. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @treyshaar.
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