Shutdown Shuts Down Disaster Preparedness

Government shutdown limits ability to prepare for hurricanes.

As of today, the government has been shut down for 27 days, making it the longest shutdown in US history.  The shutdown is affecting around 800,000 federal employees, none of whom are being paid for their work.  Two of the notable departments that have been affected are the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  NPR’s Greg Allen reports that the shutdown has halted massive projects that are meant to assist with disaster preparedness.  One of these projects is enhancing the NOAA’s digital weather prediction model, the Global Forecast System (GFS). This is an important model used by divisions of the US National Weather Service like the National Hurricane Center (NHC).  The NHC uses this NOAA technology to track and forecast the intensity of developing storms.  This makes it easier to see what’s coming and better prepare for the impending disasters.

Due to the government shutdown, all public National Weather Service activities, including tours and other outreach activities, have been canceled or postponed until further notice. We apologize for any inconvenience.-- Statement released by the NWS

Additionally, Allen explained that “[t]he government shutdown has also had a major impact on FEMA, which works with the National Hurricane Center to train local emergency managers.” The training sessions scheduled for this week have already been canceled.  This, says former FEMA administrator Craig Fugate, has a clear impact on the department’s ability to prepare for hurricanes.

Oliver SperansComment