Government shutdown means no pay for meteorologists keeping us safe

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Snow slamming Utah, it’s been happening since November, and some say the storms have been more predictable than what’s happening in Washington. It’s day 33 of the government shutdown but National Weather Service staff in Salt Lake City continue to show up for their shifts without pay.

“It’s really hard not to know if you are going to get paid to support your family. People have kids, people have bills, people have obligations, I think it kind of sucks,” said Jessica Goulding of Salt Lake City. 

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service work different shifts, but the building is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

“The weather doesn’t quit, so we don’t quit. We are always here, monitoring the weather, watching the forecast, getting watches an warnings out, getting the forecast out. Our mission is to save lives and property and we continue to do that every day,” said Charlotte Dewey, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The Director of Communications for the organization, based out of Washington D.C., put out a statement explaining NOAA Nation Weather Service operations are in excepted status and therefore remain in place to provide forecasts and warnings to protect lives and property. 

“Observations, forecasts, watches/warnings, and all of the infrastructure to support these operations continue to be sustained, meeting all operational readiness levels.”These functions are critical to providing life-saving decision support to emergency managers in every county of the United States,” Julie Roberts, the Director of NOAA Communications, said in a written statement. 

Winter has not made it easy on theses crews either, with an active storm pattern across the country. Here in Utah, we’ve seen more snow storms than this time last year and our mountains are on track to reach average snowpack through April.

The National Weather Service is the only agency that can issue winter warnings, which we’ve had many of over the last 33 days, and those are beneficial to the public.

“I appreciate them going to work and not getting paid for it or knowing when they will get their next paycheck,” said Goulding. 

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 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...