NWS continues monitoring storms despite shutdown - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

NWS continues monitoring storms despite shutdown

While employees are still being asked to come to work each day, it is predicting their paychecks that could be the biggest guessing game. While employees are still being asked to come to work each day, it is predicting their paychecks that could be the biggest guessing game.

(WMC-TV) - Seven days a week there will be someone working in the government-run National Weather Service office monitoring whatever storm blows through the Mid-South, even if a storm in Washington D.C. is shutting others down.

"We are considered essential employees. Our main mission is protection of life and property, and since weather doesn't shutdown at any time either we're here," said warning coordination meteorologist Benjamin Schott.

Just south of Memphis, the group is following a tropical storm. Also, there is winter weather north of the Mid-South, and Thursday night severe weather tore through the Midwest.

Each incident has an influence on Memphis weather and produces a lot of data.

"Even though these models are really, really good in the end they're not perfect, and so it still takes a person to be able to dig through all this it figure it out," said Schott.

While employees are still being asked to come to work each day, it is predicting their paychecks that could be the biggest guessing game.

"We've been told we're gonna get paid. It's just a matter of when," said Schott.

In the meantime, they are doing more than predicting weather as they manage weather radio signals, wires and monitor river levels. They also have direct contact with aviation.

"With the millions and millions of dollars that goes on with the airport. Those forecast are very, very important to keep the economy running here in Memphis area," said Schott.

One result of the government shutdown: NWS has no money to fix broken equipment. Still their future is as uncertain as many others waiting on a decision in Washington D.C.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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