Gov. shutdown and Tropical Storm Karen: What you need to know

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – If you live in Alabama for very long, you’re sure to encounter severe weather. The Federal Emergency Management Agency isn’t far away during those times and has played a critical role in disaster recovery for thousands of Alabamians.

The government shutdown has closed FEMA’s Atlanta bureau. Employees who normally prepare for disasters are on furlough.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website is off-line until the shutdown ends.

If you want specific weather information, turn to your local meteorologists.

“Say you have a government shutdown like we do, periodically that happens,” CBS 42 Meteorologist Mark Prater said. “Being a television expert certainly helps and can get the same information across that some people may depend on with the government.”

CBS 42’s Chief Meteorologist Gene Norman said the government shutdown doesn’t affect his ability to forecast the weather.

“All of the factors that go into making a forecast, we’re constantly keeping an eye on,” Norman said. “And we have access to that information independent of having to rely on any kind of other websites.”

FEMA has allowed essential employees to return to work to protect people’s lives and property in anticipation of Tropical Storm Karen.

Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42

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