Hurricane Tracking Could Suffer Under Proposed Budget Cuts

Sep 13, 2017

Hurricane season is focusing attention on budget decisions the White House has made that could undermine storm tracking and predictions.

Before coming to office, President Trump described climate change as a hoax. Officials in Texas and Florida cite higher sea levels and warmer ocean waters as contributing to damage from storms.

Renee Stone is chief of staff at the Natural Resources Defense Council and former chief of staff for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She says even if you set the climate issue aside, it makes sense to invest in the complicated and expensive job of predicting where hurricanes are going.
 
"No matter what you believe about climate change, we've experienced a huge number of disasters in the last several years. Wouldn't it be nice if we knew seven days out or ten days out what the hurricane would do with greater accuracy?"
 
NOAA does not have a permanent director currently. The job is being filled by a deputy. Stone says right now the agency is "all hands on deck" - totally devoted to the job of tracking the current storms. But she says the weather predictions people see on the evening news are the result of a lot of costly scientific work, which the proposed budget cuts threaten.

Budgets passed by the House and Senate include smaller cuts to NOAA.