Government shutdown impacting parts of National Weather Service

Mike Dougherty
January 12, 2019 - 9:03 am
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- As the partial government shutdown enters a record-setting 22nd day, hundreds of thousands of federal employees are still showing up to work without getting paid. Once agency that's affected is the National Weather Service.

Typically, there are two or three forecasters on a shift at the NWS office in Mount Holly, New Jersey. Gary Szatkowski worked there for 19 years and endured shutdowns himself, though not for this long.

"The day to day forecasts, those should not be affected. People should be working as they would if there wasn't a shutdown," Szatkowski said. "The last thing that's going to be sacrificed is the forecasts and warnings, which is part of the core mission of the National Weather Service."

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He says forecasters show up even though they aren't getting paid. Other employees won't be coming to work. Administrative work and routine maintenance is on hold until the shutdown ends. Long-term projects and training sessions are also paused.

"Not too many people are thinking about hurricanes right now," Szatkowski said, "but the first of the year is when the National Hurricane Center in Miami kicks off a very active training schedule."

Szatkowski says the training will eventually be completed, the shutdown just puts them behind schedule.