WASHINGTON, June 1 (UPI) -- The Obama administration has called off plans to furlough weather forecasters under budget sequestration amid an outbreak of tornadoes and thunderstorms.
The acting head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a written statement to staff members late Friday the agency had come up with a plan that would end the furloughs for National Weather Service employees.
Acting Administrator Kathryn Sullivan said recent deadly tornadoes in the Oklahoma City area pointed to the need to have the weather bureau fully staffed.
"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.
The across-the-board spending cuts called for under sequestration had been criticized by lawmakers who wanted forecasters to be exempt from furloughs, which would reduce their workweek from five to four days, The Hill said.
Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky. -- chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, which oversees NOAA and its parent agency, the Department of Commerce -- indicated last month the committee was willing to provide some flexibility when it came to the Weather Service, Politico said.
Sullivan said in her memo spending cuts would be shifted to travel, grants and contracts and a hiring freeze.