Government Shutdown Impacts Forecasting
by Jill Johnson
October 04, 2013 5:07 PM
We rely on the National Weather Service to be there when severe weather happens. During the government shutdown, those operations won't stop. But there are people who rely on services that go beyond the basics.
For many of us, getting the forecast is as simple as turning on our TV, but there's a lot that happens before that information is delivered to you.
Meteorologists depend on dozens of different computer models or simulations everyday.
KDLT's Chief Meteorologist Brandon Spinner said, "A weather forecast has a lot of different variables. There's different models that we as Meteorologists look at to determine how a certain even is going to happen."
Based on the information they gather from those models, they come up with a forecast. But what if some of those models aren't available?
"You take variables from each and make your forecast, well, a lot of these now are gone," said Spinner.
Models from the National Weather Service are still coming in, but some meteorologists like to look at ensembles, a model that takes a weather system and plays it out several different ways into the future.
Those are provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A government entity down,
because of the government shutdown.
Spinner said, "A couple of the models that have dissappeared, they're not there for days four through seven."
Fewer models to compare makes it that much more difficult to come up with your forecast, let alone a seven day forecast.
Spinner said, "It comes down to really what my thoughts are."
Thoughts that are then delivered to your living room.
The National Weather Service is around for meteorologists if they happen to have to any questions. While more than 100 Weather Service Offices across the nation are required to work through the shutdown, for now, they aren't getting paychecks.