NOAA put out this summer's hurricane forecast late last week, and it looks like it's going to be another doozy of a storm season. And that’s probably all we’re going to get in terms of forecasting. NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco took the opportunity to point out that, in the last round of budget cuts, Congress slashed the funding to upgrade the satellite system that allows the agency to make such accurate hurricane predictions.
These cuts are the same ones that undermined the country's tsunami warning system. Apparently budget-minded conservatives want Americans to rely on their psychic powers and those feelings that old people get in their bones to predict catastrophic weather events.
The NOAA satellites won't get old and creaky for a few years yet, so there's no cause for immediate alarm. The real problems will come down the line, right about when everyone's forgotten about these decisions, and it will take a few congressional reports and newspaper investigations to understand why no one was warned that the next big one was on its way.