Future Is Cloudy With Occasional Trump Gusts at National Weather Service

How many weather people does it take to change a forecast? Evidently more than we currently possess.

The National Weather Service Employees Organization is issuing a severe hiring freeze warning. The union is afraid if Donald Trump’s freeze order is applied to the National Weather Service it will be a cold day in hell before it can add another employee.

global-warming-forecasts-mckeeThe union hopes it can slip through a loophole under cover of a rhetorical fog bank. Trump’s order doesn’t apply to agencies involved in the military, public safety or public health. The Washington Post says the NWS is hoping to reclassify itself as an integral part of the nation’s public safety apparatus: First responders when the precipitation hits the fan.

If NWS brass has its way, soldiers fighting for our freedom, anti–terror agents protecting the homeland and doctors battling dread disease will be joined by the guy who eyeballs the rain gauge at the airport. Each doing their small part in the vital effort to keep taxpayers alive and paying taxes.

Normally you would call this sort of bureaucratic aggrandizement “mission creep” but in the case of the weather service we’ll call it moisture creep.

The real problem facing weather wizards is it’s difficult to make the case for 650 new hires before Hurricane Donald arrives, when the desks have been empty for years and no one, outside the cleaning crew that dusts the monitors, has noticed.

A union functionary claims the vacant slots are “Emergency Essential” and it’s a big deal, “meaning those employees are critical to the life-saving mission of the NWS, so they must report to work (in hurricanes, floods, blizzards, furloughs, etc.).”

That’s a confusing explanation. I’d have thought an employee who shows up at the office after being furloughed is a potential source of workplace violence, not a reason to consider NWS workers the equivalent of Marines with barometers. As for the rest of the examples, when the morgue is empty it’s easy enough to claim your agency was responsible, but where’s the evidence these vacant slots represent a “life–saving mission?”

When a city is short of cops or has a surplus of demonstrators crime goes up. With a shortage of doctors patients pile up. But it will take some convincing to persuade me a shortage of weather oracles encourages tornadoes.

Making the case the NWS is a public safety necessity is difficult when the weather service has trouble coping with normal weather. Last week, while a blizzard was slamming into Maine and California was wondering if leftist sanctuaries would protect citizens and illegals from flood waters, the NWS system went offline.

A case could be made the cat was out of the bag and Maine and California were already familiar with the weather, but knowing if the rain was expected to stop would have been helpful to the sandbag crew.

Instead two “core routers” failed and the system was offline for three hours. The WaPost’s weather blog reminds us NWS systems failed as Hurricane Matthew was bearing down on Florida last October and in July it experienced another network issue.

It’s almost as if Hillary is the IT consultant.

Even if NWS bureaucrats can convince Trump a weather watcher wielding a weathervane is the public safety equal of a doctor brandishing a thermometer, there is the vetting problem.

In a government that yawns over classified phone call transcripts being leaked to the opposition media there’s a surprising amount of paranoia regarding the five–day forecast. Higher level NWS employees are for some unknown reason required to have a security clearance.

It’s not like you can hide the weather, just go outside and you know as much as President Trump. The only forecasts that have any usefulness are next day predictions. Three and five–day forecasts, which you can get from any weather poodle on TV, are about as reliable as a Republican Congressman’s promise to repeal Obamacare.

I suppose if your life is wrapped up in humidity the staffing shortfall is a big problem, but to me it looks like a good way to save money. It would be cheaper to let NWS focus on gathering weather data and let the private sector handle the forecasts. Using the same data the NWS employs, the Weather Channel is already more accurate and if you don’t like those global warming fanatics there’s always your local TV weather babe.

Why fight it? The missing 650 employees are approximately 14 percent of total employment. Since Trump wants to cut the federal workforce by 20 percent, the NWS’ head start puts it well on the way to meeting that goal.

It’s new motto could be: All the Weather at 80 Percent of the Cost!

Lunch is Finger Lickin’ Good at the National Weather Service

Does your boss supply you with knives, forks, spoons, plates, cups and napkins when you eat lunch? (Fast food employees may feel free to stop reading now.)

The National Weather Service employees serving on the front lines at Fort Climate are angry because Uncle Sam stopped. Who has time to remember the cutlery when you’re fighting “Climate Change?”

Naturally the union filed a grievance, a process where taxpayers again foot the bill, but we are off the hook for place settings.

Complete details in my Newsmax column:

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/U-SCommerce-Department-Dan-Sobien-National-Weather-Service/2015/01/22/id/620109/

The Bugs are Back

The cicada: Mascot of the federal bureaucrat?

The cicada: Mascot of the federal bureaucrat?

People in the Washington, DC area like to worry. Part of it’s because leftists are required to show “concern” about the darnedest things and part of it is because a large government workforce has to discover something to do or at least find a way to look busy.

For example, the National Weather Service suffered a crippling budget cut of about 3 percent when the sequester went into effect. I had assumed that after the cut hit, a spokesperson would inform us there would be no more rain or rainbows due to evil Republican budget cuts.

Instead the service is now under a hiring freeze and unable to begin what the WaPost called “a major pilot project aimed at helping the local community prepare for extreme weather.”

For those of you who tuned in late, “extreme weather” is what used to be “global warming” before it stopped getting warm.

According to the Post, “Previously, the emergency response meteorologists were tasked to assist “on the scene” during major weather events, offering on-demand briefings to emergency managers and stakeholders. They also were charged with developing more event-specific forecasts, explaining possible impacts in detail, and getting key messages out using new communication technologies and social media.”

In laymen’s terms this means highly–paid government meteorologists would appear during a hurricane or tornado to tell damp citizens with frizzy hair that they had just been hit by a hurricane or tornado. The weather people would then pass out small, waterproof maps with colorful depictions of pressure zones and isobars. Then advise survivors to take shelter, cut down on salt and keep hydrated. Once the citizens were dispersed, the weather service employees would be free to teach elected officials how to post heroic photos of themselves in galoshes on Twitter.

How they intend to accomplish this without power remains to be seen. A more practical plan would involve teaching Pepco customers how to buy and install a generator, since long term loss of electricity is much more common here than severe weather.

Somehow, Oklahomans have managed to endure weather without federal intervention. Twice during my youth I lived in Duncan, OK. Smack dab in the middle of tornado alley. In spite of the fact we did not have weather service types parachuting in to state the obvious, we managed to survive. The municipal tornado siren sounded, you picked up the babies, grabbed the old ladies and headed for the nearest tornado/bomb shelter or leaped in a nearby bar ditch.

I distinctly remember one evening when we gathered in our neighbor’s backyard shelter to wait out the alert. Since I was just a kid, I had no idea how long a tornado lasted. My idea of a long duration was waiting for Christmas and that took forever.

What’s more, I was a chubby kid who suffered “food anxiety” before it came to Michelle Obama’s attention. Not wanting to add hunger pangs to potential tornado problems, I filled my pockets with cheddar cheese. (It could have been that I also wanted to prevent diarrhea, but my memory is fuzzy.) This caused something of a commotion later in the week when Mom opened the washer and saw the laundry looked like nachos.

So without the weather service to gin up worry, the media here has turned to the insect world and found this summer will mark the return of the cicada. Cicadas sleep underground for 17 years and then emerge blinking into the sunlight, looking for sex and a square meal. This alone would make the cicada a perfect mascot for the less motivated federal bureaucrat.

Insects on the make would not normally be an issue for the front page of the Metro section. What makes the cicadas newsworthy is they return in the billions. They cover the landscape and make a loud buzzing sound to attract a mate, similar to disco but without  mirror balls.

The insects are about an inch long with red eyes. The outer shell is crunchy but they’re soft on the inside, much like a Democrat. The reporter even found publicity–hungry omnivore who claimed he eats cicadas. His recipe calls for sautéing them with lemon and butter. I can’t remember if he serves the finished product with MD–20/20 or WD–40.

After sex cicadas don’t smoke, which would at least shut them up, instead they eat the shrubbery. I actually saw a handful while walking the dogs, but the density did not begin to approach the 1,000,000/acre of which the WaPost warned. Maybe these were scouts, wary of people with frying pans.

The important part of the infestation for our purposes is that I’ve been inspired to write another song. This time to the tune of the Angel’s “My Boyfriend’s Back.”

The bugs are back and there’s gonna be trouble

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

When you see them fly you better cut out on the double

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

Cicadas been gone for such a long time,

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

Better watch your step don’t slip on insect slime

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

And the trees are full of buzzin’

And the males are wantin lovin’

A mating dance right on your front lawn

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

They’re here right now, about a trillion stong

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

Buried underground for 17 years

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

It’s time to mate, so cover up your ears

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

And the trees are full of buzzin’

And the males are wantin lovin’

Beady red eyes on a body one inch long (Wa–ooh, Wa–ooh)

Eating your shrubs while they play a mating song  (Wa–ooh)

It’s time to flee

The bugs are back and there’s gonna be trouble

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

When you see them fly you better cut out on the double

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)