JACKSON, MISS– A new bill in Washington D.C. could bring all National Weather Service offices in the United States to only six regional offices.
That means that the local National Weather Service officials that Mississippi Emergency Management crews work with would no longer be housed in Mississippi.
“It takes away local expertise,” says Dan Sovien, president of the National Weather Services Employee Organization,”for information they’ll have to contact call centers, with phone banks, in other places like Atlanta or Chicago.”
When severe weather happens or is a threat in Mississippi, the National Weather Service works with Mississippi Emergency Management on the state and county level to prepare for those events.
“The forecasters will go to the meetings, or the officials will go to the weather center,” says Sovien, “they get a plan together to keep people safe.”
And Sovien says the forecasters have a local knowledge that is invaluable when severe weather strikes.
“That forecaster knows the path of the tornado, and knows there’s a park there, with little league practice there.”
If you don’t want to see the local National Weather Service offices merged, Sovien says to call your representative. The bill will be voted on next week. If it passes, the National Weather Service will have one year to plan the merger of all 122 offices down to just 6.
Here’s the whole interview with Dan Sovien about how this bill could hurt Mississippi’s weather preparedness: