Weather agency ends furloughs as deadly tornadoes strike Okla.

By Elise Viebeck – 06/01/13 12:31 PM ET

The agency in charge of the National Weather Service will no longer furlough employees under sequestration.

The announcement from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) came late Friday as severe tornadoes struck the Oklahoma City area, taking nine lives.

The deadly storms came less than two weeks after a major twister hit Moore, Okla., killing 24 people.

In an email to staff, NOAA Acting Administrator Kathryn Sullivan said the tragedies emphasize “how important every single employee within NOAA is.”

“That is precisely why I’m pleased to report that this evening the Department of Commerce transmitted to Congress a new sequestration plan,” Sullivan wrote.

“Because of this new development we are canceling our intent to furlough all 12,000 of our employees.”

Sequestration is another term for the automatic budget cuts that hit the federal government earlier this year. The cuts have prompted mass furloughs of federal employees.

Lawmakers said weather personnel should be exempt and criticized the Commerce Department, which runs NOAA, when it said the furloughs would move forward.

The department’s original proposal would have ordered four days of furlough for every NOAA employee.

Sullivan’s email was sent at 11:39 p.m. on Friday night.

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Author: AFGE Local 704

Representing over 900 bargaining unit employees working at the U.S. EPA Region 5 Offices in Chicago, Ann Arbor, MI and Westlake, OH.

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