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National Weather Services forecasts without pay despite shutdown

WQOW – Some federal workers who help keep the Chippewa Valley safe every day are working without pay.

Whether you realize it or not, The National Weather Service impacts you every day, from their forecasts to issuing important watches and warnings. The center in Chanhassen, Minnesota, is the hub that covers the Eau Claire area. There’s another station in La Crosse that covers a lot of western Wisconsin as well.

News 18 reached out to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to discuss how the shutdown affects them and what that means for people’s safety.

The NOAA spokesperson said “NOAA’s National Weather Service has people working 24/7 during the shutdown to perform mission essential functions to protect lives and property. Observations, forecasts, watches/warnings, and all of the infrastructure to support these operations continue to be sustained, meeting all operational readiness levels. These functions are critical to providing life-saving decision support to emergency managers in every county of the United States.”

That means they’ve got the essential staff to create forecasts and issue possible life-saving warnings. However the team may be a little smaller than usual, missing other workers who may not be as essential.

According to an article from the Charleston Post and Courier, many projects to advance weather forecasting models and research tools are on hold through the shutdown. All those workers at the National Weather Service aren’t getting paid, but should receive back pay once the shutdown ends thanks to a bill passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump.

Justin Esterly

Justin Esterly is our Daybreak meteorologist. Justin joined WQOW News 18 in May 2018.

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