LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Your local 7-day forecast may take a hit from national budget cuts-weather models facing up to a 30 percent blow in accuracy.
The National Weather Service is facing a $50 million budget cut from sequestration. The branch is under the department of commerce and is proposing several ways to make up for the loss in budget.
The first suggestion is to put a freeze on current open positions at forecasting offices around the country. On any given day, walking in to a local forecast office you may find only 2 or maybe 3 meteorologists. So, losing just one or two could make a bigger impact than first perceived.
Another suggestion to save money is releasing one less weather balloon a day. Weather balloons are crucial pieces of equipment used to collect weather data that goes into computer models that spit out a prediction. These outputs are what meteorologist use to create forecasts. So the less data that is put into the models, the less accurate and more room for error in predicting weather.
"There's a certain degree of inaccuracy to it [forecasting]. We all know that we'll miss it a certain percentage of the time. Now 30 percent more often, it's going to miss that storm," said Dan Sobien, president of the National Weather Service Employee Organization.
While timing with severe weather risks and watches may differ, tornado warnings will not suffer time loss.
Also, if these cuts go into place, United States would be the only country around the globe not capturing data twice a day.
These proposals are not set in stone; they still have to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget, and then it'll need to be approved by Congress.