Despite government shutdown, weather info still up for AK

Message courtesy of governmentshutdown.noaa.gov

Message courtesy of governmentshutdown.noaa.gov

Many Alaskans live their lives by the weather. But how will the government shutdown affect the organizations that provide weather information to the state?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, is shutting down many of its services and furloughing employees.

I tried to reach Ciaran Clayton, director for communications at the NOAA information office, and got this message instead:

“Hi you’ve reached the voicemail of Ciaran Clayton, director of communications for NOAA. Thank you for your call, however I’m currently unavailable because of the shutdown of government operations. If you leave a message, I won’t be able to respond until funding has been appropriated and the shutdown ends. I’m really sorry for this inconvenience and I’ll return your call as soon as I’m able. Thanks.”

Its website, noaa.gov, is no longer available as well.

However, websites that are deemed quote ‘necessary to protect lives and property’ are being maintained.

That means the website of the National Weather Service, weather.gov, will still provide updated information for its Alaskan regions.

Fishermen and others who rely on NOAA’s marine weather forecasts and advisories will still be able to get them.

The NOAA weather radio service is still up, as well as aviation weather. Tsunami warnings, fire, thunderstorm, and snow information are still available, but the daily update is not.

Joel Curtis is a warning coordination meteorologist at the NWS forecast office in Juneau.

He says his office’s work is continuing for the most part.

“Well, we’re certainly affected but the National Weather Service is also, and this is a very specific word—excepted. That is because our mission is for the protection for lives and property—we are open for business here. Our routine forecasts and our weather warnings will be produced as normal,” says Curtis.

He was not able to comment on possible furloughs.

The weather service website also has links to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA. FEMA notes that certain non-disaster assistance transactions submitted on its site will not be processed until appropriations for funding are made.

For more information about the effects of the shutdown on NOAA, visit governmentshutdown.noaa.gov

For more information about the entire government shutdown, visit usa.gov/shutdown

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