New Hampshire Wants Its Own Forecast Office?

These certainly are interesting times in government weather forecasting — times of flux and of uncertainty over the unknown. Toward these trends I shall take neither a cynical nor a Pollyanna approach, but instead one of measured caution and reason in between those two extremes.

As an Employees Organization union steward with an eye to the trends, one thing I can guess with a healthy degree of assurance is that, in five years, the service won’t look anything like it does now. But in what way? Fewer field offices? Regional warning centers with many current NWS offices becoming NOAA outreach outposts? Day 3+ forecasting automated? All but watch/warning functions conceded to the private sector? Some blend of all of the above? The possibilities, for better or worse, are so numerous they make one’s head spin.

While some higher-ups clamor to consolidate the field offices, some folks outside NWS are calling for *more* offices to cover little bitty areas like NH. [Do a news search for articles by Jason Schreiber. My copy was entitled, Some call for Granite State weather office. ] Meanwhile the NWSEO just wants to keep something close to the present bare bones staffing and locations, and prevent the budget vise from pulverizing the NWS turnip in search of blood that isn’t there. Somebody’s going to walk away quite unhappy, and there is some risk that service to the public may suffer. How will those competing interests shake out, while the likes of the Myers clan and their compadres continue tossing stones at a wounded animal, unabated and uninhibited from their cushy seats outside the cage bars? Time will tell.

Meanwhile, I’ll provide some figures to help you decide if New Hampshire ought to get its own forecast office. Based on land area, a back of the envelope calculation reveals that Texas should have 29 NWS offices. Oklahoma should add six more also, for a total of eight. Where would they put six more offices in Oklahoma? For optimal geographic distribution, how about Guymon, Woodward, Enid, Lawton, Broken Bow, Ardmore and McAlester?

If New Hampshire wants to use the “complex terrain” argument, northern and western New Mexico should have at least 20 offices.

If New Hampshire wants to argue population, we should subdivide the Dallas Ft. Worth Metroplex among at least four offices.

Nonsense! Yet the state climatologist, a TV meteorologist or two, and a state emergency manager claim that New Hampshire’s roughly 8,000 square miles are best served by their own Weather Forecast Office. Politics being what it is, it wouldn’t surprise me if some congresscritter throws them a bone.

When will the legacy Williston office ever close, anyway?

Thanks to bc and Boris for stimulating thought on this topic.


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