National Hurricane Center tracking Tropical Storm Karen despite government shutdown
6:56 PM, Oct 5, 2013
Miami, Fla. - At the National Hurricane Center, workers are gearing up for the landfall of Tropical Storm Karen.
Despite the government shutdown and the furloughs with it, the National Hurricane Center is fully operational. Dr. Rick Knabb, the Director of the NHC says "The vast majority of the staff here have been here throughout the shutdown because we are a 365-24-7 operation putting out critical weather forecasts and warnings."
There were a handful of non-essential staff however, that were sent home on Tuesday. But when Karen was named... "We had to bring a few folks back for the particular needs we have during Karen. for the coordination with emergency management, for the coordination with the media, and for the additional storm surge forecast capabilities that we have to ramp up when we have a landfall threat"
Dennis Feltgen was one of those people brought back, he's the public affairs officer for the National Hurricane Center. "I work to get the message out at the National Hurricane Center and NOAA, it's very important."
The staff here doesn't let politics get in the way of their duties.
"Despite everything that is going on with the government shut down and that none of us are getting paid right now...this is an incredibly dedicated group of people." Feltgen says. "They're focused right now on Karen...everything else is by the wayside"
Dr. Knabb says "We have a number of hurricane watches and warnings for the northern gulf coast, and we have a number of hazards to contend with. not just the wind a tropical storm can bring, maybe even hurricane conditions....but also water...storm surge, rainfall that can cause inland flooding"
After the threat from Karen is over, Dennis said he, along with a few others will go back to being furloughed, but the majority of the staffing here will stay in place.