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Sequestration Nation: Who's Going to Feel the Cuts?

By Emma Fidel - 2013-03-20T11:54:45Z

Photograph by NOAA

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Forecasting Errors

Sequestration will rain on the meteorologists' parade, too. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration may freeze hiring for 2,700 positions, furlough 2,600 employees and reduce its contractors by 1,400, Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank said in a Feb. 8 letter to Congress. NOAA would reduce the number of weather balloons released to collect data used for forecasts, and two weather satellite programs may be delayed. The combination of satellite gaps, a smaller staff and reduced balloon deployments increases the risk of errors in weather forecasts, Kathleen Miller reports. "The government's ability to warn Americans across the country about high-impact weather events, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, will be compromised," Blank said.