National Weather Service could furlough employees

By Jennifer Bauer - Reporter

HOUSTON - The National Weather Service could force as many as 5,000 employees to take furloughs unless Congress allows the agency to move funds around within its budget.

According to The Washington Post, the National Weather Service faces a $35.5 million budget shortfall. The forced time off would save the agency $26 million, but would come at the height of hurricane season from July to September.

"Of course the Weather Service is our back bone and we need them," said Michael Kovacs, the Galveston City Manager.

The National Weather Service offices around the country issue watches and warnings for dangerous weather, including thunderstorms, flash floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes.

"We work with the local office, the warning coordinator and all of the folks here are part of our emergency team," said Kovacs. 

But Kovacs also pointed out that the City of Galveston will continue to work with the National Weather Service employees even if that means in a reduced capacity. Their priority is keeping the people who live at, work at, and visit the island safe.

"I'm more than confident the leadership country will address this issue rather than reduce the capacities of this life-saving service," said KPRC Local 2 hurricane expert Bill Read.

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