Clocking Out

Dedicated Weather Forecasters Leap To The Rescue – Despite Government Shutdown Rules Not Allowing Them To Clock Out.

If everyone were this conscientious,  then employee clocking in systems would soon go out of fashion.

By Nancy Gaarder / World-Herald staff writer

No clocking out during storms – and no pay for weather forecasters

shutterstock_85831546They were, and still are, working without pay. The federal shutdown has meant that most National Weather Service meteorologists are among the hundreds of thousands of federal employees required to work on an undated IOU. They won’t be paid for work done after Sept. 30 until Congress ends the shutdown.

The heads of local weather service offices said they’re not surprised by their employees’ dedication.

David Carpenter, meteorologist-in-charge in Rapid City, said his staff pulled out the cots and sleeping bags because record-setting snows made going home impractical. Two employees walked through blizzardlike conditions to get to the office, with one making a one-and-a-half mile hike.

In Omaha, several employees worked overtime, some on their normal day off, others staying hours past the end of their shift, said James Meyer, meteorologist-in-charge.

“The bottom line is we’re here,” Meyer said. “We’re going to continue to show up and do everything possible to make sure nobody gets hurt during any kind of nasty weather.”

As the storm system swept across the Plains, three Lincoln residents died on a snow-slickened road in northwest Nebraska. In northeast Nebraska, more than a dozen were injured in the tornadoes.

Meyer said his crews got out in the field on time, but he did need to make several phone calls and emails to get clearance for his staff to fill the vehicle with gas and head into the field. Damage surveys determine whether a tornado did in fact occur and where it ranked on the Enhanced Fujita scale.

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Summary: Clocking in and clocking out systems will always be with us as human behaviours are as diverse as the weather. Hats off to these loyal  employees, who prove that when most people are put to the test during exceptional circumstances, that the majority of individuals step up their commitment and save the day.

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