Buildings in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, lie in ruins on April 28, a day after a tornado demolished the city (via Reuters)
We reported in March that NOAA said GOP’s proposed satellite funding cuts could halve the accuracy of precipitation forecasts. Michael Conathan, CAPAF’s Director of Ocean Programs, updates the story.
On Thursday, as the search for survivors continued in devastated communities across Alabama and other southern states pummeled this week by massive, terrifying tornadoes, President Obama said “we can’t control when or where a terrible storm may strike, but we can control how we respond to it.” Unfortunately, thanks to the spending bill orchestrated by the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, he couldn’t say we are doing everything in our power to protect Americans from future extreme weather events. Events that are becoming ever more frequent, as CAP’s Daniel J. Weiss and Valeri Vasquez pointed out in a report and interactive map released Friday.
The Associated Press characterized the number of fatalities from these storms –more than 340 as of Saturday — as something that “seems out of a bygone era, before Doppler radar and pinpoint satellite forecasts were around to warn communities of severe weather. Residents were told the tornadoes were coming up to 24 minutes ahead of time, but they were just too wide, too powerful and too locked onto populated areas to avoid a horrifying body count.”
It is precisely those “pinpoint satellite forecasts” that Congress, including every GOP member of Alabama’s delegation, decided were luxuries America cannot afford when it passed the continuing resolution to keep the government operating for the remainder of the fiscal year.