URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND FORKS ND 359 AM CST MON FEB 27 2012 ...MAJOR WINTER STORM FOR PARTS OF THE REGION TUESDAY NIGHT INTO WEDNESDAY... .ANOTHER STORM SYSTEM IS TARGETING THE NORTHERN PLAINS FOR TUESDAY NIGHT INTO WEDNESDAY. THIS APPEARS TO BE A MUCH STRONGER SYSTEM WITH MORE SNOW AND STRONGER WINDS EXPECTED. AT THIS TIME IT APPEARS THAT THE SOUTHERN RED RIVER VALLEY INTO WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA WOULD BE HIT WITH THE WORST OF THESE CONDITIONS. A FOOT OR MORE OF SNOW IS POSSIBLE ACROSS THE SOUTHERN RED RIVER VALLEY TAPERING TO AROUND 6 INCHES ALONG THE HIGHWAY 2 CORRIDOR. GUSTY SOUTHEAST WINDS ARE EXPECTED AHEAD OF THE SYSTEM ON TUESDAY THEN WINDS SHOULD BECOME MORE NORTHERLY BY WEDNESDAY AS THE SYSTEM PASSES OFF TO THE EAST. SIGNIFICANT REDUCTIONS TO VISIBILITY DUE TO FALLING AND BLOWING SNOW ARE POSSIBLE. UNLESS SOMETHING CHANGES THIS STORM WOULD BE THE STRONGEST SO FAR THIS WINTER. HOWEVER THERE COULD STILL BE SOME SHIFTS IN THE TRACK OF THE STORM SO LATER ADJUSTMENTS MAY BE NEEDED. MNZ001>003-013>016-022>024-027>032-040-NDZ024-026>030-038-039-049- 052-053-010000- /O.EXT.KFGF.BZ.A.0001.120229T0000Z-120301T0000Z/ WEST POLK-NORMAN-CLAY-PENNINGTON-RED LAKE-EAST POLK- NORTH CLEARWATER-MAHNOMEN-SOUTH CLEARWATER-HUBBARD-WEST BECKER- EAST BECKER-WILKIN-WEST OTTER TAIL-EAST OTTER TAIL-WADENA-GRANT- EDDY-NELSON-GRAND FORKS-GRIGGS-STEELE-TRAILL-BARNES-CASS-RANSOM- SARGENT-RICHLAND- INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...CROOKSTON...EAST GRAND FORKS... HALSTAD...MOORHEAD...THIEF RIVER FALLS...RED LAKE FALLS... FOSSTON...BAGLEY...MAHNOMEN...LAKE ITASCA...PARK RAPIDS... DETROIT LAKES...WOLF LAKE...BRECKENRIDGE...FERGUS FALLS... NEW YORK MILLS...WADENA...ELBOW LAKE...NEW ROCKFORD...LAKOTA... GRAND FORKS...COOPERSTOWN...FINLEY...MAYVILLE...VALLEY CITY... FARGO...LISBON...GWINNER...WAHPETON 359 AM CST MON FEB 27 2012 ...BLIZZARD WATCH NOW IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY EVENING THROUGH WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON... * THE NEXT STORM SYSTEM SHOULD BEGIN TO AFFECT PORTIONS OF NORTHWEST MINNESOTA LATER ON TUESDAY. * FALLING AND BLOWING SNOW LATE TUESDAY INTO WEDNESDAY COULD RESULT IN NEAR ZERO VISIBILITY AT TIMES IN OPEN COUNTRY WITH WIND GUSTS TO 35 MPH. * SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF OVER A FOOT ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA TAPERING TO AROUND 6 INCHES ALONG THE HIGHWAY 2 CORRIDOR. * THIS APPEARS TO BE THE STRONGEST STORM SO FAR THIS WINTER SO MAKE PLANS NOW. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... A BLIZZARD WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR FALLING AND/OR BLOWING SNOW WITH STRONG WINDS AND EXTREMELY POOR VISIBILITIES. THIS CAN LEAD TO WHITEOUT CONDITIONS AND MAKE TRAVEL VERY DANGEROUS. && $$
A STORM SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO ORGANIZE OVER THE CENTRAL ROCKIES LATE SATURDAY…AND TRACK ACROSS THE NORTHERN PLAINS ON SUNDAY. THE POTENTIAL EXISTS FOR GREATER THAN SIX INCHES OF SNOW ACCUMULATION FROM SATURDAY NIGHT INTO EARLY MONDAY MORNING…ESPECIALLY ACROSS NORTHEAST NORTH DAKOTA AND NORTHWEST MINNESOTA. IN ADDITION…BREEZY EASTERLY AND NORTHEASTERLY WINDS ARE EXPECTED IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE STORM SYSTEM. SOME UNCERTAINTY REMAINS REGARDING THE EXACT TRACK AND INTENSITY OF THE STORM SYSTEM. AS A RESULT…THE AMOUNT OF SNOWFALL ACCUMULATION AND THE LOCATIONS IN THE PATH OF THE HEAVIEST SNOWFALL MAY NEED TO BE ADJUSTED AS THE SYSTEM APPROACHES. PERSONS PLANNING TO TRAVEL BETWEEN SATURDAY NIGHT AND MONDAY MORNING ARE ADVISED TO MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND STATEMENTS CONCERNING THIS WEATHER SYSTEM.
In the wake of the economic crunch, President Obama is proposing to cut funding to the National Weather Service by $39 million in 2013’s fiscal year. Under his proposed plan funding would be cut from $911 million down to $872 million. This budget cut will result in an estimated loss of an estimated 96 jobs nationwide.
Due to this proposal, NOAA is consolidating their information technology officers. Instead of having one IT officer at every one of the 122 NWS offices across the nation, they are proposing to have one IT officer per region. NOAA does not believe that this change will have a significant impact on their mission to protect life and property.
Outsourcing IT personnel could have a dire impact on operations at the National Weather Service, according to Dan Sobien, the president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization.
“NOAA’s response of IT infrastructure investment is laughable. We are an iPhone agency with an etch-a-sketch infrastructure. Download speeds at most weather forecast offices are no faster than they were a decade ago,” said Sobien. “In many offices, you have more available bandwidth on your cell phone than the office has.”
He said eliminating the most technically advanced positions could have deadly consequences. Without them, Sobien believes it will be more difficult to provide accurate forecasts, storm warnings and keep web pages up to date.
A petition is available through whitehouse.gov requesting President Obama to reconsider the NWS budget cuts.