Weather in the News - Pacific Tsunami Warning Center Silently on Chopping Block (Credit: Meteorologist Jessica Olsen)
DISCUSSION: Residents of the most vulnerable places in the United States never could imagine that tsunami warning systems brought by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center would be on the chopping block by their own government. President Trump initially proposed budget cuts to tsunami warning systems back in May, going silently unnoticed by thousands in places like the state of Hawaii. The motion outlined details to shut down the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Oahu leaving the operations of tsunami warning solely on the Palmer, Alaska Warning Center, the only other tsunami warning center in the United States.
The island of Oahu in itself has a population of nearly 1 million with an estimated 300,000 living in Honolulu susceptible to the effects of a tsunami. Cuts to the tsunami warning system were proposed as a way to save taxpayer money while investing more in military and other areas of interest.
On July 13th the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill was passed, including a suggested appropriation of $973 million for the National Weather Service (NWS), which would assist in saving the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Oahu in addition to nearly 60 jobs at stake. If elimination passed, no backup warning system would be in place, and funding for recently added network of deep-sea buoys – relaying real-time information to the warning center would be phased out. The House Appropriation Committee has added that the funding for the NWS is $37 million above the Trump administration’s initial suggestion. Those coastal residents can now sleep easier as the committee was determined to “maintain critical capabilities to provide weather forecasts and warnings.”
Of note is the legislation contains $4.97 billions for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a solid $140 million above Trumps bid.
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© Meteorologist Jessica Olsen
"The U.S. House of Representatives Committee On Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen." Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill | Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House of Representatives. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Aug. 2017.
"The U.S. House of Representatives Committee On Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen." Committee Approves Fiscal Year 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill | Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House of Representatives. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Aug. 2017.