Hurricane Section 2011

Satellite funding worries federal forecasters

May 26, 2011 

MIAMI -- Funding for storm-tracking satellites is worrying the director of the National Hurricane Center and the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco told reporters May 19 that recent federal budget wrangling put the agency's hurricane-tracking satellites at risk. She said that future funding for NOAA's satellite program was "very much in limbo."

Lubchenco also said NOAA already has delayed the launch of one satellite that would have transmitted information for weather and climate forecasts. That means there's no replacement for the current satellite doing that work.

Hurricane center director Bill Read said May 20 that he shares Lubchenco's concern. He worries that funding cuts for satellites also would mean cuts for other vital equipment such as the "hurricane hunter" aircraft.

Hurricane season begins June 1.

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