Sequester changes could impact public safety

By Brandi Bailey

May 13, 2013 Updated May 14, 2013 at 1:33 AM EDT

Town of Maine, NY (WBNG Binghamton) National Weather Service employees are concerned about keeping the public informed through the federal sequester period.

The National Weather Service Employees Organization says budget cuts have lead to four furlough days, or mandatory days off. That's in addition to the current hiring freeze for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.

Local employees say this furlough could result in delayed severe weather warnings and even possible forecast oversights because of being understaffed.

"They would have to be absorbed by the office and by the area. The services that people depend on during severe weather season and potentially flood season. It all has to be fit in during the summer and early fall," said National Weather Service Employee Organization Steward Mark Pellerito.

The furloughs are set to start July 1 and run through September.

NOAA says the plans remains in the proposal stages.

In the event of severe weather, furloughs can be cancelled to bring staff in to properly handle the incident.