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Trump tweets snowstorm warning from the agency whose budget he’s trying to slash

Leaked budget guts funding for NOAA satellites crucial to accurate and timely weather forecasts.

The National Weather Service winter storm and blizzard warning for the Northeast from Sunday evening.
The National Weather Service winter storm and blizzard warning for the Northeast from Sunday evening.

Just days after floating budget cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that would undermine America’s weather prediction system, President Donald Trump made use of that very system to warn the public about the impending snowstorm and blizzard.

With predictions of a crippling storm headed for the Northeast, the president took to Twitter on Monday to warn people to be safe and pay attention to local officials.

The NWS is, of course, the National Weather Service, which is part of NOAA; weather.gov is the NOAA/NWS website.

However, just last week, a White House budget memo secured by the Washington Post called for a 5 percent cut in the National Weather Service budget. That’s enough to “strain operations,” as Bloomberg noted. And according to Rear Admiral David Titley, a former COO of NOAA, it “effectively ‘neuters’ them from undertaking any significant new services of methods of operation.”

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Even worse, Trump’s plan would cut NOAA’s total budget 17 percent, with funding for NOAA’s satellite program slashed by more than a half-billion dollars. Former NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco told the Post that satellites provide 90 percent of weather forecasting information and that such cuts “will compromise NOAA’s mission of keeping Americans safe from extreme weather and providing forecasts that allow businesses and citizens to make smart plans.”

NOAA’s former chief scientist Rick Spinrad said such cuts “would virtually guarantee jeopardizing the safety of the American public.”

Tweets about weather that don’t make any sense are, sadly, one of Trump’s specialties. He’s tweeted over 30 times that winter weather in the winter disproves global warming, which of course it doesn’t. We will see if he can restrain himself in the days ahead. Hopefully Congress can restrain him from gutting our world-class weather forecast capability.