The next time a tornado, blizzard, hurricane, or ice storm threatens, who is there to get you the information you need to protect your family?
Meteorologists put their lives and reputations on the line every month to provide the life saving information we need to saves lives and enhance the economy. Here is an excerpt from Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather:
Robert Ricks, Jr., of the New Orleans NWS, finished packing the
van and sent his family west to San Antonio to ride out the storm. He
packed a bag for himself because he would have to be at the weather
office for the duration of the storm. He says he took one last look
around the neighborhood because he imagined that it would never
look the same.
[I then describe the horrible bureaucratic screwups that cost hundreds
of people their lives in the "Murder by Bureaucracy" chapter about
Katrina and Ray Nagin's call to sent the New Orleans police on a
"rest and recreation trip" to Las Vegas while the city was flooded!]
Contrast this with the work of the New Orleans’ NWS office in
Slidell. After 12-plus-hour shifts in the run-up to the storm, a number
of employees lost their homes and had to sleep in the office for weeks
while continuing to do their duties. They viewed the inconvenience
as part of their duty to their fellow citizens.
Besides the great work and forecasting of the NWS, about the only
good thing I can point to in terms of a positive, proactive government
agency response was the Coast Guard’s heroic rescue efforts to pull
people from the roofs of flooded New Orleans structures, for which
they deserve tremendous praise.
You might also read this post from earlier in the week, “A Salute to Meteorologists.”