No shutdown for Weather Service ‘tirelessly’ forecasting snowstorm

As winter weather threatened to dump up to eight inches of snow in Washington, D.C., the National Weather Service’s staff kept providing vital forecasts for the nation even as its meteorologists tracked the storm without pay in the government shutdown.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which the weather service is under, confirmed in a statement to USA TODAY that its forecasts are on track despite the partial federal closure.

“Much of NOAA National Weather Service operations are in excepted status and therefore remain in place to provide forecasts and warnings to protect lives and property,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a statement to USA TODAY. “With several storm systems impacting the country, staff continue mission-essential functions.”

Weather service employees working are in “an expected status,” meaning they aren’t being paid now but are expected to get back pay once the partial federal government shutdown ends. 

Washington, D.C., can expect to see six to eight inches of snow from the storm, said meteorologist James Lee at the weather service’s Baltimore/Washington forecast office.

When asked whether the shutdown was affecting their forecasting, Lee said flatly, “It’s not.”

Winter storm warnings remain in effect for D.C., Baltimore and much of the surrounding area through Sunday evening, according to the weather service.

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