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Storm Clouds Ahead: Budget Cuts Threaten Severe Weather Forecasts

 Residents had advance warning of the storm, thanks to weather forecasts. But with forced budget cuts in effect, forecasters may not be adequately prepared for future natural disasters.

In March, $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts, known as the sequester, took effect. The cuts slashed 8.2 percent from the 2013 operating budgets of most federal agencies. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) suffered a 7 percent reduction in its fiscal year 2013 budget as a result of sequestration. Thinned-out staffs and under-maintained equipment could hinder the agency's ability to give timely and accurate weather forecasts, experts say.

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