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When things get bad during the spring tornado season, what organization is at the forefront of the situation, issuing forecasts and crucial tornado warnings that even the private weather companies like AccuWeather and The Weather Channel follow religiously?

The National Weather Service. A government organization.

If the sequester hits on March 1, all 4,600 National Weather Service employees would need to be furloughed for 4 weeks to make up for the 8.2% cut:

Government managers could also face wrenching decisions on which missions and employees are most needed. For the National Weather Service to handle an 8.2 percent cut, all of its approximately 4,600 employees would have to be furloughed for four weeks, said Richard Hirn, general counsel for the National Weather Service Employees Organization. Under that scenario, Hirn saw no way for the agency to maintain around-the-clock operations at its 122 forecasting offices.

“It’s just not going to work,” he said.

Heading into an active severe weather season with severely understaffed (or flat out closed) National Weather Service offices is exactly what we DON'T need. NWS offices already get stretched thin when there's a large tornado outbreak. Cutting them down to bare bones or shutting them down altogether will mean lives lost. All those tornado warnings the much-vaunted private industry takes for granted will disappear.

If one person dies because Congress won't let the National Weather Service effectively perform its duties, each Republican in the House of Representatives will have that person's blood on their hands.

It looks like the Republicans might get their wish after all.

h/t to TerpWeather for alerting me to this

Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 2:03 PM PT: Hah! A day late and a dollar short, I realize I didn't link to the source. Sorry about that.

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