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Furloughs proposed for NWS and NOAA

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Furgloughs could be in the future for employees at the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, because of the sequester.

Employees were notified about the plans in an E-mail Monday.

“The agency was hoping it could avoid it,” said NWS La Crosse Chief Meteorologist Glenn Lussky.

The current plan includes completely closing most offices for four specific days.

However, furlough days for employees at 24/7 operations would “be carefully determined.”

“I think we’re going to be in good shape and provide the very best service we can regardless,” said Lussky.

The National Weather Service in La Crosse said they don’t think the public would be impacted too much, because their office has to be staffed 24/7 in case of an emergency.

“I have confidence that they’ll be able to manage this and do well, we’re just voicing some concern that furloughing the National Weather Service offices is probably not the best idea,” said La Crosse County Emergency Management Coordinator Keith Butler.

Despite his concerns, Butler said emergency management will be ok if the National Weather Service can find a way to keep their office staffed.

“We rely on them. They are the folks who are monitoring the weather. They are monitoring the natural hazards in our community 24/7, and they’re the experts,” said Butler.

“I don’t think you’ll find a more dedicated group of employees that we have at the National Weather Service and more mission oriented,” said Lussky.

The E-mail to employees said there are in talks with labor unions about the proposal.

There’s no word yet on when a decision about furlough plans could be made.


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