National Hurricane Center Spokesman on Furlough, Forecasting Operations Normal During Shutdown

Forecasting staff has not been affected by the shutdown, officials said.

The spokesman for the National Hurricane Center has been placed on furlough due to the government shutdown, but all other operations remain functional as Tropical Storm Jerry churns in the Atlantic.

A message on Public Affairs officer Dennis Feltgen's voice mail says, "I am currently out of the office on furlough due to the shutdown of U.S. government operations."

Forecasters, technical staff and front desk staff will remain at work during the shutdown, said Chief of Forecast Operations James Franklin.

"Forecasting staff is not affected," he said.

As of 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Tropical Storm Jerry was nearly stationary with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour. It was located about 1,185 miles west-southwest of the Azores.

However, Feltgen could be recalled in the event of a significant storm, Franklin said.

"My guess would be that if we needed a media pool we would use the same normal rules for a media pool, which I believe is a hurricane watch or warning scenario," he said.

Meanwhile, Feltgen is unable to answer phone calls or emails until government funding is appropriated and the shutdown ends.

The NOAA website is also unavailable because of the shutdown, but the hurricane center's site is working.

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