National Weather Service tracking Karen despite government shutd - CBS46 News

National Weather Service tracking Karen despite government shutdown

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National Weather Service still working despite government shutdown National Weather Service still working despite government shutdown

Despite the government shut down, the National Weather Service in Peachtree City continues to operate around-the-clock and is monitoring Tropical Storm Karen.

The agency is considered essential so it has not furloughed employees or cut back staff.

"Our base function is keeping the radar running, still collecting data, still issuing warnings, watches, and advisories and issuing the forecast," said meteorologist Keith Stellman. "Anything that has to do with protection of life and property, we continue to do."

The weather service is working closely with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA told CBS Atlanta News it has called some employees back to work to monitor the storm. A state agency, GEMA has not been affected by the federal government shutdown.

"Anytime a tropical system comes into the state, we're always concerned about the potential for spinoff tornadoes, and of course there's going to be one to three inches of rain," said GEMA Director Charley English.

English said GEMA has additional workers on standby in the event bad weather hits.

"The threat is not severe, but if we need you we're going to need you quick and we expect you to respond," English told staff members.

The National Weather Service has held regular conference calls with GEMA, FEMA and other agencies across the southeast as Karen moves closer.

"Anytime you're dealing with something tropical, it has the potential to be significant," said Stellman.

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