Support your local National Weather Service

In recent years, I have been loath to bring up politics on this blog as the vitriol in our national discourse is a complete turnoff. However, concerns over cuts to the National Weather Service prompted me to do something I have never done before: write a letter to one of my Senators (in this case, Lindsey Graham — I may yet write Jim DeMint). The text of that letter is below:

Senator Graham,

I am deeply concerned about proposals in Congress to significantly cut funding to the National Weather Service. Much as cutting funding to our defense and intelligence apparatuses may very well render America less able to defend herself, slashing the National Weather Service’s ability to collect and act on data that generates critical forecasts and warnings leaves Americans more vulnerable to life-threatening weather events. Your office has consistently demonstrated a commitment to keeping our national defense fully funded in the name of keeping Americans safe; similar logic should follow in ensuring the full funding of the National Weather Service, as its warnings have a demonstrated track record of reducing loss of life in severe weather.

I understand that cuts to the National Hurricane Center have been proposed as part of this package. Cutting funding to the National Hurricane Center is something that no South Carolinian should accept. South Carolina’s economy and safety absolutely depend on the unrestrained ability of the National Hurricane Center to do its job and properly warn residents, and it is unfathomable to think that just over five years after the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina that members of Congress would want to cut its funding.

I have personal experience interacting directly with the National Weather Service, as I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to train as an advanced storm spotter with the Charleston forecast office. This office is staffed with very bright, dedicated, and focused public servants and I feel safe knowing that they are on the job, keeping us informed when routine afternoon thunderstorms take a turn for the worse or when a Category 4 storm threatens our shore. These individuals do their job quietly, without fanfare, sensationalism, and often without thanks. NWS provides a steady, clear voice when dangerous situations arise, and I deeply appreciate their efforts in doing so.

Please ensure continued full funding for National Weather Service operations in the new budget.

Respectfully yours,

Jared Smith


Exciting weather on tap for tomorrow?

The Weather Channel is forecasting severe weather for tomorrow, including large hail and high winds. The National Weather Service is a little less excited right now, but they don’t tend to get really excited until the watch gets issued.

We could still use the rain — ANYTHING to cool us off a bit. But let’s keep some of the severe weather away from here.

Speaking of severe weather, I noticed on Weather Underground a report of a waterspout near the Westmoreland bridge, which is the span of I-526 that crosses the Ashley River. Crazy!