Miami Herald Article.. Problems at the NHC or is it all a Lack of Proper Funding
Today's Miami Herald has a first part in a four part series that explores problems the Hurricane Center has had in predicting storm tracks and errors made that could have, should have been prevented.
At first glance the article ...though very in depth.. seems petty.
I mean you live in the tropics or a place affected by tropical cyclones and you have a hurricane headed in your direction, you are in the cone of error... this is a NO BRAINER and there shouldn't be anyone in a 3 day track who doesn't have their house stocked up, their television on 24/7 watching live coverage and enough water to fill their backyard pool. Charley hit an area that was predicted to be hit a few days in advance. The shuffling back and forth of the exactness of the cone maybe was an error but not a soul should have complained they didn't know that storm was coming at them unless they sit around all day watching the food network and reruns of Judge Judy 24/7. I mean do we need to have an automatic early warning siren go off if a hurricane is to your south headed north 48 hours before possible landfall? I think not.
Truth is... they were more or less on the money.
The problem is the purpose of the Hurricane Center is to provide the BEST warning they can POSSIBLY give and unfortunately with the scientific resources out there it is frustrating for scientists who know they can do it better... be stuck with the limitations of only 250 hours of flight time in airplanes that need to be budgeted out over a specific time period and weather devices that have not been fixed because of budgetary problems.
Seems in a day and age when we have unlimited funds to fight a war, drop missles, use all sorts of fancy computerized gadgets that let people see down into some den of supposed terrorism we are unable to get a bouy working in the Gulf of Mexico that the guys back at the NHC need to perfect a path.
They want to do better. They know they can do better is more the point of the article but being good government employees.. most within a few years of retirement they .... like most civil servants don't want to rock the boat or risk losing their pension. Neil Frank, a man with nothing to lose and the most to say... says a lot. And, being as he was a Director of the National Hurricane Center and left rather than continue to play the government's games... he deserves respect and a good audience.
The point isn't that they do a bad job.. the point is that they don't do the job that they could and that is mostly... because of money.. or lack of it.
This isn't a problem of poorly trained people unable to grasp the basics of forecasting.
It is about a time where NOAA or other similar agencies receive more and more money (probably to try and see the mole on the back of Osama's neck) and the NHC gets cut, time and time again.
So... what I want to know President Bush is this...
Do you limit reconaissance flights over Iraq and the Middle East to 250 hours of flight time or just the National Hurricane Center who is trying to protect the lives of people close at home and give them better warning?
I would really like to know if some big general has to sit and worry over whether he can send out a plane today to check out some small problem he is unsure of before launching some raid or does only Max Mayfield have to worry that it's early in the month and in a busy season he may need that Government Jet later more often.
I want to know if the Army and Navy and Air Force across the world is counting pennies while the NHC trying to protect our tropical butts is the agency that gets left short counting pennies, flight time and waiting for repairmen to fix easy to fix equiptment?
I want to know where our priorities are... protecting your oil partners assets or our assets back home?
That is what I want to know Mr. President.
And... yes this has been an ongoing problem going back to Clinton, back to Daddy Bush and probably before that... but still... money only goes so far and now that we realize that we have cities to be rebuilt in America... and equiptment that can and should be replaced here ..especially if as so many say this is Global Warming... well... I'd say bring the troops home, bring the boys home... bring the money home... bring the budget home.
You looked out for your own attorney that has served you well... you do seem to be a loyal type of guy. Or does she know where the bodies are buried.. funny thought.
Either way.. I suggest what is learned from the article or rather expose in the Miami Herald is that.... money is needed to make it better and since no one who works for the Federal Government wants to ask..I'm asking.
Can all the Kings Horses and All the Kings Men... sit down in Congess and vote more money to agencies back home.. like the National Hurricane Center and FEMA and NOAA and help put America back together again.
Let's let the Iraq people worry on Iraq now that we have given them the very expensive gift of democracy.
Let's give the proper funding to those who need it and while you are at it Mr. President.. maybe you could reconsider keeping some of those bases in places that voted against you in the last election alive... I'm sure we can find a way. This is America.. we can bring democracy to nations on the other side of the world we should be able to at least feed our own people here, give them good jobs, provide proper medical care and fix a broken bouy in the Gulf of Mexico.
Your tropically concerned, ex-Republican American