Tuesday, June 14, 2011

If your weekend plans are ruined because of the weather, don't blame the weatherman, blame Billy Long

IMAGE: An artist's rendering of a polar orbiting satellite to be launched in October. The satellite, critical for weather forecasting, is expected to last five years. Congress eliminated funding for its replacement. (NASA)

Earlier in this legislative session when Billy Long voted "YEA" on H.R.#1 and "YEA" on the Ryan Budget "Kill Medicare Bill", the bus pointed out some results of those votes that are going to have an effect on us down here in The Ozarks, the land of a million smiles: Billy Long voted to slash National Weather Service Budget which provides advance warning for tornadoes; suggests 'thoughts and prayers' instead.

Kate Spinner, a reporter for the Herald-Tribune expounds on the consequences, unintended or otherwise, of Billy's "YEA" vote: Satellite gap could put hurricane forecasts at risk:

A looming gap in U.S. weather satellite coverage could jeopardize the seven-day forecasts people have relied upon for everything from planning weekend picnics to preparing for hurricanes.

Hit hard by federal spending cutbacks this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been forced to delay a critical satellite scheduled to be in orbit by 2016. The postponement could cause an unprecedented year-and-a-half loss of weather data, undermining hurricane track forecasts and public warnings on the potential for deadly tornadoes.

The satellite data feeds into computer models that forecasters use for long-range predictions. For instance, in May, forecasters warned that Southwest Missouri would be at a higher risk for tornadoes several days before the deadly EF-5 twister devastated Joplin. Such warnings may not be possible in the absence of the satellite data.
To read the rest of the story, click this link.

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