The budget ax may be falling on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the government agency in which the National Weather Service offices fall under. The proposed cuts are being leveled straight from the nation's commander-in-chief.
President Barack Obama is eyeing NOAA for budget cuts amounting to four percent or $39 million. According to business reports, under President Obama's new budget plan, NOAA would get $872 million in fiscal year 2013. This is down from the current $911 million.
This is the second year in a row that NOAA has had to brace for a big financial hit. The agency was able to stave off cuts last year, ironically in part to President Obama's help in fending off House Republicans to keep the funding in tact.
The trickle down effect from such a huge loss would mean job cuts at National Weather Service offices across the country, including right here in our NWS Wilmington office.
"A large chunk of this would come from the elimination of 96 ITOs (Information Technology Officer) positions located in weather forecast offices across the country," said Ken Haydu, Meteorologist in Charge at the NWS in Wilmington, Ohio.
Haydu says the National Weather Service has two offices co-located, the Ohio River Forecast Center and the Wilmington Weather Forecast Office that would be impacted. "While Congress has yet to act on this budget proposal, the impact on this co-located office could result in the elimination of the office's only Information Technology Officer," says Haydu.
Undoubtedly putting a strain on the local agencies ability to process and disseminate information.
NOAA officials say the president's budget proposal is an administration-wide effort to find IT efficiencies and savings across all federal agencies.