During the current government shutdown, unpaid National Weather Service (NWS) employees in forecast offices around the country continue to produce weather forecasts and severe storm warnings. The NWS office in Rapid City, South Dakota has continued to operate despite the added challenge of a blizzard that produced over 4 feet of snowfall and drifts as high as 10-15 feet.
Climate Central was the first to publish details of situation, which are based upon information that came directly from meteorologists at the NWS forecast office in Rapid City.
"Access to the office is still blocked. Two employees were able to hike in around some obstructions, but it is not possible to drive out of the parking lot due to snow drifts and downed trees in the neighborhood. The SOO (one who hiked in) is attempting to take two stranded employees home this morning. One forecaster hiked in for his mid shift last night, and I sent him home so he can come back tonight. Of the three who are on duty at this time, two have been here since 7 a.m. Friday, and I have been here since 3 p.m. Friday. We have two NWR (NOAA Weather Radio) transmitters down: Terry Peak and Rapid City. We have three ASOSs (Automated Surface Observing Stations) down: IEN (Pine Ridge, S.D.), RAP (Rapid City, S.D.), and PHP (Philip, S.D.).”
“We are on commercial power which has been stable since yesterday evening. Rapid City is pretty much paralyzed, and recovery and repair operations are in full swing. We have heard that the governor called in the national guard. Conference call briefing expected to take place later this morning. There is some concern about the potential for flooding with temperatures warming up quickly tomorrow and melting off the large snowpack. we have 1 to 4 inches of liquid equivalent on the ground and a big rain storm in the models for Friday. 8:09 a.m. MDT"
We want to express our appreciation to all NWS employees across the country who are working without pay to keep us safe and informed during the government shutdown. To those in Rapid City, we send out an extra... Hip Hip Hooray!
Photo Credit (NWS via Facebook)