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NWS Cancels Skywarn Classes Due to Inclement Political Weather

Would-be storm spotters looking to take advantage of the National Weather Service’s signature severe weather watch program will have to ride out the government shutdown too. Turns out the shutdown has stalled the agency’s Skywarn Program. That’s led to three classes in Northeast-to-Central Texas postponed this week, including one scheduled for Saturday in Collin County.

"Unfortunately, we have had to cancel a couple of classes already this week, and that may stretch into the next one-to-two weeks, depending on how much longer the government shutdown continues," says Jennifer Dunn, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. "We are doing our best to reschedule these cancelled classes, at least for now, and find new dates for them in the month of February, but more likely in the month of March."

Dunn says Skywarn classes don’t usually go past March because that’s the heart of severe weather season, and meteorologists are too busy in the office tracking storms.

Through the end of January, four additional Skywarn classes are scheduled, for Leon, Tarrant, Lamar, and Hopkins counties. But those could be postponed too, if the shutdown lingers.

Scott Morgan has been an award-winning journalist since 2001. His work has appeared in several newspapers and magazines as well as online. He has also been an editor, freelancer, speaker, writing teacher, author, and podcaster.