, 15 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Hard to believe, but with the House adjourned until next week, the shutdown will almost certainly extend into a second month. Here’s a recap thread as Union Steward of NHC of what we have lost so far, and what else is on the chopping block:
The National #AMS2019 conference has come and gone. All the potential scientific gains, interactions, new ideas- not this year. I probably regret losing the interactions with the hundreds of student attendees the most- a real missed chance for future inspiration and talent.
The first week of the @FEMA #hurricane preparedness classes is cancelled. The next one is likely to be postponed as well. This class is for decision makers who usually don’t know a lot of meteorology to help them understand what NHC/NWS products can and can’t do for them..
Normally there r 20-24 attendees per week - that means ~45 people that might be your new evacuation decider that doesn’t have the recommended capstone training. Easy to see how this hurts US hurricane preparedness.
No significant operational hurricane modeling has occurred during the shutdown since almost all of our partners at EMC in College Park are furloughed. I don’t have much hope that any upgrades will be ready by hurricane season for the HWRF/HMON. It is worse than that tho...
...Because many of the important modelers in the US are contractors. This is especially critical because they aren’t likely to be backpaid and are hurting worse than most feds. I know several people who are looking for new jobs because this isn’t sustainable for them...
...and this is very bad for the modeling in this country. Operational weather modeling is a small field and the government has had a hard time even filling the current open positions. We need to hold onto our talent, otherwise it could legitimately hurt us for years to come.
In this vein, the FV3GFS implementation has been delayed. No new development is ongoing with that model. That’s the flagship US global model that is a starting point for many NWS products. We are delaying any advancement of that model and its ensemble.
NHC is down 8 employees from a staff of about 50. We cant bring in new people to help fill the gaps, some transfers are held up, and we can’t advertise our job vacancies. I thought we had a good chance of being fully staffed this hurricane season- u can kiss that goodbye now.
So what’s to come in February? More lost meetings, training classes are on the horizon, along with missed international responsibilities. The nation’s hurricane ops plan is updated at the March Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference, but almost all those agencies r furloughed.
We are still working on the reports from last season. Yet many of our data providers including USGS, NOS, NCEI and others are mostly furloughed. As long as they are down, no way the reports are done.
It is a difficult time to be a federal employee. Benefits threatened since 2017, many shutdowns and now the longest in history, then no pay raise, a missed paycheck just in time for Christmas bills coming due and still no sign of this ending anytime soon.
It is a testament to the dedication of the staff that they are showing up day after day in these challenging times. It is going to get bleak if we miss another paycheck next Friday- a breaking point for many. Exactly how is this helping national security?
I want to implore people to think about what this is doing to US weather readiness. Weather just doesn’t care if you wear a red, blue or purple shirt- and we need to prevent this from happening again.
I will close with a quote from ex-NHC director Max Mayfield- “The battle against hurricanes is won in the offseason”. Right now, we are clearly losing with not much of a signal for anything good to come. /fin
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