Trump Wants To Fire 248 National Weather Service Forecasters

The proposed White House budget would cut hundreds of jobs from the National Weather Service, including forecasters, after one of theworst hurricane seasons on record.

The Trump administration budget proposalwould slash the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration by more than $1 billion next year, forcing the agency to cut about 8 percent of jobs. The weather service, part of NOAA, would lose 355 jobs, including 248 forecasting positions.

Weather forecasters are alarmed. Dan Sobien, president of theweather service labor union, warned that the plan hadsapped morale.

“We can’t take any more cuts and still do the job that the American public needs us to do,” Sobientold The Washington Poston Monday. “There simply will not be the staff available on duty to issue the forecasts and warnings upon which the country depends.”

Government forecasters were faced with a particularly active hurricane season in 2017 that, alongside other natural disasters, caused a record of more than $300 billion in damage. NOAA said in January the country was hit with 16 separate billion-dollar disasters last year, including hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and a string of wildfires in California.

E&E Newsnotesthat the Trump budget document said the reduction in staffing would help eliminate “inefficiencies associated with the rigid field office structure.”

Any major cuts to NOAA would need to be approved by Congress, and the White House budget only serves as a guideline. But it establishes the priorities of the Trump administration and provides a framework for lawmakers.

Other proposed cuts at the NWS include $11 million slashed from the tsunami warning program, and a $15.5 million reduction to ocean surface and marine observation programs.

Hurricane Harvey was one of 16 billion-dollar natural disasters in 2017. The White House has proposed eliminating hundreds of forecasting positions from the National Weather Service in the next federal budget.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.