Viewpoint: March 8, 2013

Weather forecasts have improved greatly in recent decades. Three-day hurricane forecasts that were off by an average of 300 miles in 1990 were only off by 100 miles in 2010, a dramatic improvement in just 20 years. And, much of the improvement can be attributed to critical data gathered by weather satellites.

However, a recent report by the Government Accountability Office listed a potential upcoming gap in weather satellite coverage as one of the "Top 30 Challenges facing the federal government." Mismanagement, overspending, and poor planning have led to the possibility of a gap in satellite data as soon as next year ... and the report says the gap could last more than four years if nothing is done to address the problem.

Life-saving forecasts rely heavily on a comprehensive, dependable network of weather satellites.  The federal government tracks billion-dollar weather disasters. In the past two years alone, we've had 25 of them, causing thousands of people to rebuild their homes and their lives. We urge our lawmakers and NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) to find a quick and sufficient solution to this looming threat.