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Senate Bill Proposes Centralizing Weather Service Forecasting in 6 Regional Offices

The Senate Commerce Committee is introducing a bill to consolidate forecasting at 122 National Weather Service (NWS) forecast offices into six regional offices. Supporters argue it would make for more efficient and cost effective operations while the opponents say it would reduce jobs and compromise quality.

The National Weather Service Improvement Act would order the NWS to come up with a plan for establishing regional forecasting centers within a year of enactment.  It recommends these centers be co-located with a university or government lab and staffed to make sure quality wouldn't be sacrificed.

And although the measure mandates centralizing forecasting operations at six regional offices, it wouldn't result in the closure of any of the existing 122 forecast offices.  Instead, it specified these offices maintain a warning coordination meteorologist to serve as a liaison with emergency management for storm preparedness.


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