May 6, 2014 12:14 PM by Stephen Bowers
NBC News has learned the National Weather Service is lacking meteorologists, and many of those openings could make the Weather Service "vulnerable to failure during the significant weather events," according to a government report released last summer.
Dallas-Fort Worth NBC station KXAS has obtained documents indicating the National Weather Service has nearly 500 job vacancies across the country. This includes three positions that need to be filled at the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma. That's the National Weather Service's severe weather headquarters that issues tornado watches. Other employee shortages exist at the National Hurricane Center in Coral Gables, Florida, and at local forecast offices in areas most prone to tornadoes.
Information from NBC News via KXAS-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth says that while the National Weather Service would not confirm the total number of vacant jobs, they are aggressively seeking to hire nearly 200 meteorologists.
A government report last summer suggests critical staff shortages affected the National Weather Service's response to Hurricane Sandy.
The National Weather Service is a component of NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which operated by the U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA is funded by congress and suffered budget cuts of 8.2% in early 2013. NBC News says a hiring freeze was also placed on NOAA, and that hiring freeze lasted until January of this year.