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Situation Normal

Steve Scolnik @ 4:40 PM

Cold high pressure covers nearly the entire country east of the Rockies today, except for the southern two-thirds of Florida. Here in the Washington DC metro area, winds averaging 10-15 mph helped keep the overnight low to an above-average 32°, despite dewpoints in the teens and mainly clear skies. This afternoon, temperatures are mainly in the low 40s with northwesterly winds gusting at times over 20 mph. Depending on how cold it gets by midnight, we will probably have another day which is slightly above the climatological "normal". On radar, lake-effect snow showers extend across much of western Pennsylvania and the northern tip of West Virginia.

Tonight and Tomorrow

Temperatures are likely to be a little colder tonight than last night with lows in the upper 20s city to lower 20s in the colder 'burbs. Tomorrow will be partly cloudy with highs near 40.

Budget Busting

The federal budget season has begun for 2007, and NOAA today announced its budget request. Reflecting the spin which passes for information today, the announcement highlights only increases. Some of them are so ludicrously small that they are undoubtedly less than the market value of the NOAA Admiral's own house. The WaPo, in its highlight analysis, says under the Department of Commerce section,
Among the agencies to come under the knife would be Commerce's biggest, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which would suffer a 4.3 percent cut, to $3.681 billion. Acknowledging the need to spend more on tracking hurricanes, the budget provides increases of $110 million for development and acquisition of weather satellites and other funds for improved forecasting.
The agency's own honking 4MB "Budget Summary", however, states that there is a decrease of 5.8%. Adding the inflation rate of at least 3% in the last year, this makes a reduction of 9% or more in real terms. Here's a modest proposal: Instead of the 4MB of glossy color photos, how about a spreadsheet in order to do some real analysis?

Locally, the budget provides $25 million in reductions across multiple agencies for Chesapeake Bay cleanup. Included in that is a nearly 50% cut for NOAA's Bay Program office in Annapolis.

It will be interesting, to say the least, to see how the budget proposal plays out for weather-related program activities, especially in light of NOAA's recent rebranding campaign.

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