Bill Would Cut National Weather Service Budget
COLUMBIA - An MU atmospheric science professor said Monday that a bill currently on the floor of the U.S. Senate would cut the National Weather Service's budget by $126 million, a third of its operating budget. Prof. Patrick Market said the bill, if passed, would put the offices on a rotating schedule. Twenty-two of the 125 offices would close for 27 days. Then, another 22 offices would temporarily close and the pattern would continue through September.
Other cost-saving features of the bill include cutting back on the number of balloon launches. Right now, the offices launch one balloon at 6 a.m. and one at 6 p.m. each day. In certain weather situations like severe weather, the offices launch more balloons. Under the bill, the number of launches would be cut to once every other day. This would cause a loss of data that forecasts put in the computer and hurt the accuracy of the forecast, especially the extended the forecast of three or more days.
Senator Roy Blunt did not directly take a position on the issue, but did say he would support certain budget cuts.