Storm prediction agency scraps furlough plans
June 1st, 2013
05:54 PM ET
10 years ago

Storm prediction agency scraps furlough plans

Washington (CNN) - The federal agency which issued tornado warnings this week has suspended plans for across-the-board employee furloughs that would kick as the summer hurricane season kicks in.

Ciaran Clayton, communications director for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the agency is canceling plans to furlough its 12,000 employees for as many as 20 days between July and September, when the federal fiscal year ends.

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The cuts would hit the agency amid what their own forecasters announced a week ago is expected to be an above-normal hurricane season.

NOAA announced the cuts earlier this year as a cost-saving measure necessitated by the forced federal spending cuts known in Washington as sequestration.

An internal memo sent to NOAA employees late Friday from agency head Kathryn Sullivan cited recent deadly tornadoes around the Midwest. The memo was published by The Washington Post.

"The events over the past week, including more devastating tornadoes tonight in Oklahoma and Missouri, remind us how important every single employee within NOAA is to the health, safety, and well-being of this nation," she wrote. "I want to thank you all for continued commitment and dedication even in times of danger to your lives, families, and property. The work you do truly is important to each and every American from coast to coast."

The memo said a "new sequestration plan" had been developed and "we are cancelling our intent to furlough all 12,000 of our employees."

In May, NOAA forecasters predicted between 13 and 20 named storms in the Atlantic this hurricane season, which began on Saturday and runs through October.

Filed under: Budget
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. Chaos

    But conservative talk show hosts,, they're congressional scarty cats and regurgitating followers here told us none of these cuts matter.

    June 1, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  2. Jeb

    TeaPublicans are colossal fools that are causing great damage to this country.

    June 1, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  3. Thelma Heywood

    Imagine that! Guess George II was wrong when he said of the environment and global warming, "...uh, we've got to learn to live with it..." Seems a lot of people have died with it. He killed so many people, military and civilian including children – unnecessary war/conflict, Katrina, Sandy – amazing. Richard Nixon was not that evil and he was punished. What a powerful regime...even bought the media...just saying.

    June 1, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  4. humtake

    Ridiculous. Every year, EVERY year, since 2004 when the 4 hurricanes went across Florida they claim at the beginning of the season that it will be an above average season. Then 2005 and Katrina hit and they thought they knew it all. After that, every year has been weak yet they continue to say it will be an above average year. All they are waiting for is an actual above average year so they can say they were right. Just wait...once we get another year of a lot of hurricanes, you are going to see headlines saying about how the forecasters were right. Any true Floridian doesn't pay any attention to any forecasts until there is an actual threat, and even then if it isn't above a Cat 2 we ignore it. Anything else is just a way to sell headlines. These people aren't forecasters, they are postcasters. Too many times I've had friends leave for one area because a hurricane was supposed to go right through us, and those friends get caught in the hurricane because it turned at the last minute. Forecasters are only good after the storm has passed through.

    June 1, 2013 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  5. Burt Bungle

    12,000 employees to watch a few computer screens zoomed in on OK in the summer? Come on now.

    June 1, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  6. nik green

    Who would take responsibility if a large Category 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale slams into a major US city without adequate warning, on account of cutbacks of essential services? This scenario of almost unimaginable horror and destruction has never happened in the US before, thankfully, but is quite possible.. and its not a matter of if it can happen, but when. Remember, Sandy was a Cat1 storm at landfall and Katrina was a Cat 3...but only Cat 1 winds wee experienced in New Orleans. A Cat1 storm compared to a Cat 5 is like the difference between a magnitude 5 earthquake and a magnitude 8... ie a wholly different ball game.

    June 1, 2013 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  7. Larry L

    Could it be that mindless sequestration is a bad idea? Punishing our federal work force for the poor planning of our Congress is criminal. Furlough the Congress and see some real progress!

    June 1, 2013 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  8. Harlon Katz

    Wow, NOW somehow the administration has found a way to cut THE INCREASE in a way that won't put the taxpayers in harms way. It has always been about choices – the Administration first CHOSE to hurt us, and now is choosing to be a little more intelligent in their cuts. I am glad the house didn't have to tell them a second time like they did for the air traffic controllers, TSA and such.

    June 1, 2013 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  9. jamessavik

    penny-wise and pound stupid. Just what we've come to expect out of Washington.

    June 1, 2013 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  10. G2

    First the Air traffic Controllers, now NOAA during Storm Season. Sequester was supposed to be about shared sacrifice across the Federal government. More Cherry picking by Congress for them not to look bad when Government can't do their job because of their failure to Govern. It is tax season why has IRS not been un-Furloughed? It is Hurricane Season, why has FEMA not been un-furloughed? We have an on-going war in Afghanistan, why has the DoD not been un-furloughed? This is about a dysfunctional government, NOT Government workers not being able to do their jobs.

    June 1, 2013 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  11. Ida Lula

    Common sense and evidence won this round.

    June 1, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  12. Martin

    Meantime, soldiers' medical boards, wounded warrior programs and other programs like that are having their employees not only furloughed, but in many, many cases leading to staff reductions by over 50%. The folks in Washington, D.C. care only about themselves and issues that are sensational enough to get votes.

    June 1, 2013 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  13. Guillermo

    Congress investigate the weatherman and see if there's any link between them and the White House

    June 1, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  14. penguin

    I wonder how many Tea Party Repubs still think these federal jobs are unnecessary? They should look to eliminate waste rather than just make across the board cuts. I suggest we cut the # of Senators to 50 and cut the # of Congressmen in half. That would save billions alone

    June 1, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  15. CNN Reader

    Thank you NOAA for being responsible and doing the right thing.

    June 1, 2013 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  16. db

    Boneheads in Washinton DC need to cut foreign aid and excessive welfare payments to bring our government economy under control.

    June 1, 2013 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  17. craig

    I could never accept the idea that the cuts that Congress forced should hurt people, and I'm certainly not in favor of chopping things that do good things, but, sadly, this decision simply demonstrates that Congress, specifically the GOP, won't act responsibly until it hurts them. Now they've been let off the hook again.

    June 1, 2013 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Thank God. Some common sense in government????

    June 1, 2013 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  19. Phil Thomas

    How about some of our fine senators and congress folk furlough themselves or better yet just take the pay cut since they already have a ton of time off

    June 1, 2013 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  20. bankrupt1

    The banksters don't care if they hike all of the money out of here hand over fist and leave us with nothing. They've been stealing from here for decades...closer to centuries.

    June 1, 2013 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  21. Mark

    ok... so how do you plan to save the money the politicians cut from your budget? Stress on the word "politicians", not budget or cut...

    June 1, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  22. Nothing At All

    So in this action in defiance of Congress? Sullivan's refusal to ignore the will of the mental midgets in Congress will no doubt cause Rep. Issa to throw another hissy fit.

    June 1, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  23. johnharry

    20,000 weather guessers i doubt that.

    June 1, 2013 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  24. tony

    I want to see the congress and senate salaries and health care sequestered immediately and retro-actively to when their election campaigns proposed it, and their pension plans dumped permanently. All in the name of getting rid of unneeded big government.

    June 1, 2013 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  25. Jim

    NOAA has 12,000 employees?!?

    June 1, 2013 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
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