I usually steer clear of all posts related to NOLA and hurricanes in deference to our fabulous scout prime, but…GODDAMN!
The federal government is spending millions of dollars on a publicity campaign while its hurricane forecasters are struggling with budget cuts, the National Hurricane Center’s director said Thursday.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is spending up to $4 million to publicize a 200th anniversary celebration, said Bill Proenza, who heads the hurricane center, part of the National Weather Service, which is a NOAA agency. At the same time, it has cut $700,000 from hurricane research, he said.
“No question about it, it is not justified. It is using appropriated funds for self promotion,” Proenza said in a phone interview while attending the Florida Governor’s Hurricane Conference in Fort Lauderdale.
Proenza has been critical of NOAA since taking over the post in January.
He says millions of dollars in new funding is needed for expanded research and storm forecasting. One immediate concern is the “QuikScat” weather satellite, which lets forecasters measure such basics as wind speed and direction. Proenza said the satellite could fail anytime, degrading storm prediction capabilities, and there are no plans to replace it.