IAEM’s Support Our Weather Partners Campaign

How much is a cup of coffee worth to you? Walk into most coffee shops; a basic cup of coffee will cost you about $4. Take that, multiply it by the U.S. population (332 million), and you get the current National Weather Service (NWS) operating budget, about $1.3 billion. So, the NWS (which is charged with protecting the entire United States of America, territories, and adjacent waters, from devastating weather events) runs on a cup of coffee per person.

However, that meager funding amount has just been slashed for this fiscal year. This will negatively impact the NWS’s ability to conduct its mission. For fiscal year 2024 appropriations, NWS has an effective $45M less than needed to sustain fiscal year 2023 levels of support.

So, what does this budget cut mean to you as a local emergency manager?

  • Select forecast offices are down 20-25% of their needed staffing levels.
  • Fewer decision support products for major community events such as festivals, concerts, and sporting events
  • Fewer or possibly no on-site Decision Support Services (DSS) for extreme weather events such as, tornado outbreaks, hurricanes, snowstorms, major rainfall events, and floods.
  • Fewer staff may prevent Incident Meteorologists from being able to deploy to provide on-site support to local emergency management offices.
  • Electronics Technician shortages, that may be unable to maintain local radar sites, weather radio transmitters, and weather information for airports and aircraft.
  • Delayed or no facility maintenance. Losing the structural integrity of an NWS facility could jeopardize its mission.
  • This will limit the NWS's ability to provide lifesaving decision-support services before and during dangerous weather events.

Unfortunately, the pain does not stop there. Legislators are already planning for the fiscal year 2025 budget, and it looks as though the Weather Service may be cut yet again. Major cuts of this nature multiple years in a row could be the death knell for Weather Service operations as we know it.

Now, what does the NWS need?

They need your support, your help, and for you to act. The NWS needs the restoration of the FY 24 budget of $45M and an additional $40 million to continue providing you with the critical services that keep your community safe. This funding will go to the NWS meteorologists, technicians, and researchers who work 24/7 to provide you with the latest, most accurate, and reliable weather products.

We are asking that you contact the elected officials who represent your community and ask them to support our NWS partners.

Click HERE for the contact information for your elected officials.

  • U.S. Senators
  • U.S. Representative
  • Governor of your state

Write a letter or download this letter template to use as a guide. 

Download Infographic

IAEM has created an infographic that helps tell the story of this dire situation. Please use these resources as you best see fit with your elected officials. All we ask is that you contact those decision-makers and impress upon them the importance NWS plays in keeping their community safe.