National Weather Service Cuts Could Impact Quality Of Warnings

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ST. CHARLES, MO (KTVI)-- Heavy rain is sending the Dardenne Creek into major flood in St. Charles County.

The Dardenne Creek is already way up so far Friday since the rain started falling.

In O`Fallon the creek is still just within its banks, but the water is nowhere near done rising.

A hydrograph from the National Weather Service shows the rapid rise in the creek since early Friday morning, with the latest stage of about 18 feet.  Now the National Weather Service is forecasting major flooding along the creek with a rise of at least another 5 feet by midnight.

River flood warnings and severe and tornado warnings that come from the National Weather Service may be in jeopardy as a result of impending cuts tied to the sequester.

While the exact impacts on weather service operations have not been made public, enough has been shared with the Weather Service Employees Union about the 80% budget cut and service wide furloughs to prompt them to speak out.

There is a very real concern among forecasters I spoke with that we could find ourselves in a situation where there is a "Good Friday tornado" or "Busch Stadium wind storm" type event or like Friday a flash flood threat, where the weather service will be working on a skeleton crew if the office is staffed at all. And that could severely impact both the quality of the warnings and the communication of those warnings to us in the media and thus to the general public at large.

Now I just spoke with a high level official in DC and they tell me they are confident the weather service will be able to execute their mission, but they wouldn`t comment on the quality of the service.

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