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Un-frickin-believable.

86% of FEMA's staff was sent home by the Republican Chuckleheads when they shut the government down.  Now Tropical Storm Karen is churning into a potential Hurricane threatening Florida, Louisiana, Southern Mississippi and Southern Alabama.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is recalling employees idled by the government shutdown as the U.S. Gulf Coast braces for Tropical Storm Karen, the White House said on Thursday.

Karen formed in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Thursday. Forecasters said it could become a hurricane before hitting the U.S. coast between the Florida Panhandle and Louisiana.

As USA Today puts it, rather laconically:
What would be worse for disaster response teams trying to cope with the government shutdown?

Coping with a shutdown in the midst of a hurricane.

Although I guess this provides the Republican Party with a golden opportunity to demonstrate how non-essential government employees really are. I expect to see the likes of Louis Gohmert, Virginia Foxx, Ted Cruz and this asshole to be stacking sandbags and hauling jugs of fresh water to affected areas.  Here are some helpful maps to assist them in locating those areas.

They won't be getting any help from NOAA, though:

But not every weather agency is up and running. Here is where we would typically give you some information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But its website, NOAA.gov, is currently down due to the shutdown. Ready.gov, a site that helps Americans set up plans for disasters, is not updating during the shutdown.
Guess folks in those states are on their own.  But they can always to go the Emergency Room, right?  Thanks, Republicans!  Heckuva job!

There's also a ripple effect as time otherwise spent on potential disaster preparation is wasted in trying to figure out which employees need to be called back:

Instead of positioning food and water supplies, the most pressing issue was which employees to call back to the office.

“We’ve got a storm brewing out in the Gulf,” U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said. “We don’t have the full force of everything that we need on board for that. Now, emergency workers are there. FEMA will show up, but there are lots of civilian support, emergency weather services that are furloughed.”

The shutdown furloughed more than 800 of the Louisiana National Guard’s civilian technicians, who help deliver meals and water during hurricanes. At the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, which monitors dangerous weather conditions, had sent 55 percent of its staff home.

FEMA does have a shutdown contingency plan, and its Hurricane Center in Miami was just re-activated this morning.  Of course, those folks can't be in two places at once:
But FEMA can't just do everything during a shutdown. On Wednesday, a congressional hearing about the agency's emergency alert system took place. No one from FEMA was able to attend.
Because no one really needs an "emergency alert system."

Tropical Storm Karen, October 3, 2013

h/t War on Error for the graphic.

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