September 12, 2005

Stormy Weather

It seems that Senator Rick Santorum (R-Accuweather) is at it again with his meddling with the weather. I had written about him earlier here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here regarding his efforts to strongly limit the weather information presented for free on the National Weather Service Website all the while, taking campaign contributions from Accuweather, a commercial company who stands to make a lot of money providing these same services for a fee if the free websites are taken offline. I even received a nice comment from someone who supported Senator Santorum. The only issue is that they posted their comment from a netblock owned by Accuweather (read about it here) It seems that he has irked some people (agaiiinnn). The Northern Pennsylvania Times Leader has the story:
Union criticizes Santorum remarks about Katrina forecast
The National Weather Service Employees union on Friday said U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum should retract statements this week questioning whether the weather service had given sufficient warning of Hurricane Katrina's path and fury.

"There's nobody else in the country saying the weather service didn't do a stellar job," said Dan Sobien, a meteorologist in Tampa, Fla., and vice president of the union.

Union president Paul Greaves accused the third-ranking Senate Republican of trying to further his goal of limiting the weather service's role in favor of private companies, such as Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather.

"We know Sen. Santorum is looking out for the interests of his constituents in Pennsylvania," said Greaves, a meteorologist in Albany, NY, "and one of those constituents is AccuWeather."

During an interview Thursday with WITF Public Radio in Harrisburg, Santorum, R-Pa., said, in part, that "the weather service gave no warning, or not sufficient warning in my opinion, as to the effects when it came on land in Florida as a Category One hurricane."

"Predictions were that it wasn't going to go out to the gulf and affect the western gulf coast, it was going to sort of head up to Florida or go right off the coast of Florida."

"I'm not going to suggest when it comes to Katrina that there were any major errors," he went on to say in the same interview. "I don't know. This is something that I think needs to be investigated."

Following the union's criticism, Santorum released a statement Friday saying that "I hope as we go forward to review the various aspects related to Hurricane Katrina that we also look at whether the forecasts and warnings provided the necessary information to preserve lives and property."

But a fellow Republican senator, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, praised the weather service's performance, calling it in a statement Friday "one of the most accurate hurricane predictions we have ever seen." Spokesman Wesley Denton said DeMint was unaware of Santorum's comments or the union's response.

DeMint cited the same documents referred to by Greaves and Sobien indicating that 2 1/2 days before Katrina hit New Orleans, the agency had accurately predicted it would hit there. "These early and accurate forecasts saved countless lives along the Gulf Coast," DeMint said.

Earlier this year, Santorum introduced legislation that would limit what information the weather service, a federal agency, could provide to the public. He said the agency should focus on "severe weather forecasts and warnings designed for the protection of life and property," and leave the day-to-day predictions to private companies like AccuWeather, a point he made in Thursday's interview.
Emphases mine -- what a little stinking turd... "the weather service gave no warning" can be directly refuted by taking a look at my blog entry from two days before landfall where I showed this free NOAA prediction:
Click for full-size Image
Senator Santorum, I call bullshit on your ass... Posted by DaveH at September 12, 2005 9:17 PM
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