The Miami Herald is currently running a 4 part expose on the horrendous status of the National Hurricane Center's research equipment, software and tools required to study and learn more about these dangerous storms because of poor funding by the government. A reader forwarded me this story yesterday. I read it last night and I was so angry that I couldn't get my thoughts together to blog on it. Today I am just as shocked at the lack of funding the NHC receives from NOAA and the Government. After the shocking amounts of property damage and loss of life over the last 2 hurricane seasons, it is amazing the US Government continues to take this threat so lightly as to barely fund it. We have some of the smartest researchers in the world working on personal laptops because the ones provided by the NHC are 8 years old and obsolete. Terabytes of data remains un-researched and stacked on tapes because we don't have the proper systems to analyze them. NOAA run radar systems continue to have no backup generator power, all but guaranteeing their failure when a hurricane gets closer to shore. Flight time on Gulf Stream research airplanes are so limited we don't fly into storms when we should be in them 24x7. The result of this is missed forecasts and increased risk for loss of life. We aren't much closer to learning more about these hurricanes than we were 8 years ago.
In contrast, the US military continues to operate on a limitless supply of cash to bomb Iraq into pebbles. Can you imagine the response and funding the US military would receive if Al Qaeda successfully destroyed in one attack a majority of our oil rigs, pipelines, refineries and shipping systems causing a nationwide energy crisis? How much funding the Department of Defense would receive if one of the nations most important ports was completely destroyed by a terrorist attack? It really is shocking how screwed up the spending is in this country. Do we need a Category 5 hurricane to hit a city like New York head on in order to get someone's attention? Hurricane's have killed more people and caused more property loss than any terrorist attack ever will. Forecasters have been pounding their desk for attention so that we all realize we are going into a period of increased Hurricane activity for the next 25 years. This type of funding is our government’s response? To say this is disheartening is an understatement. It's shocking, negligent, and just baffling at how stupid the people in Washington can be when it comes to what really threatens us as a nation. Wake up George!