Hurricane season starts June 1, and we hope the partial government shutdown is resolved long before then.
In the meantime, though, the shutdown has meant that the National Hurricane Center is operating with only a fraction of its staff. That might not seem like a big deal here in January, with hurricane season months away. But winter is when NHC staff engage in training and refine their forecast models.
With the shutdown now almost a month old, that preparation time is being lost. This should be a concern from everyone along the Gulf Coast, especially those of us in Louisiana, who have dramatic firsthand experience of what hurricanes can do.
The shutdown resulted from a dispute between President Donald Trump and Congress over funding for a border wall near Mexico that candidate Trump promised Mexico would pay for. Security is important, but key parts of the border already have a wall, and illegal border crossings have generally been trending downward in recent years.
A president focused on security should be thinking about storm threats along the Gulf of Mexico, too — as should members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation. Keeping National Hurricane Center workers at home isn’t a good way to prepare for such dangers. Louisiana deserves better.