Local meteorologists at the National Weather Service in North Webster love to talk about the weather (don’t we all?).

But when it comes to the partial government shutdown, that’s not the case.





Two employees at the North Webster office declined to talk about the shutdown or any details. One of the two suggested a spokesperson in Kansas City could answer questions about the impact of the shutdown. That person directed calls to another person at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who did not reply.

Michael Sabones, a meteorologist who helped establish the North Webster office in 1997 and retired six years ago, faced numerous government shutdowns over the years and offered a few thoughts.

While Sabones admits he’s still not well connected with operations in North Webster, he said all of the nearly two dozen employees at North Webster are deemed essential and are working without getting paid.

“It’s a matter of frustration and worry if you are not receiving a paycheck,” Sabones said.

He said reluctance by staffers to talk about the shutdown is standard because the agency is apolitical.

As of today, the shutdown enters its 21th day in a dispute between President Donald Trump and Democrats over $5.7 billion to help finance a wall on the southern border and other security measures related to illegal immigration.

If the shutdown extends into the weekend, it will become the longest in U.S.  history.

Today marks the first day during the shutdown that federal workers considered “essential” will not receive a paycheck.

“They’re a very dedicated crew and my heart goes out to what they’re going through right now,” Sabones said.

He said outreach programs such as planning for spotter training is one of the things that is likely not happening during the shutdown.

On the sunny side, NWS staff is still issuing a range of advisories, forecasts and updates.

The office posted an update on Twitter when the shutdown began Dec. 22, saying they would continue “to operate 24x7 through the government shutdown” and provide reliable forecast and warning information.

At the same time, the post said the office would limit online posts and replies to subjects directly related to forecasts, watches, warnings and advisories.

Northern Indiana has not had any serious weather conditions during the shutdown, but given the region’s volatile weather year-round, Sabones said there is never a good time of year for the services to be curtailed.