Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today passed the Weather Forecasting Improvement Act of 2014 (H.R. 2413), introduced by Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) and cosponsored by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas). The bipartisan bill improves America’s severe weather forecasting capabilities by prioritizing the protection of lives and property through a forward-looking weather research plan at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Chairman Smith: “Severe weather routinely affects large portions of the United States.  This past year has been no different.  Our leadership has slipped in severe weather forecasting.  European weather models routinely predict America’s weather better than we can.  We need to make up for lost ground. The enhanced prediction of major storms is of great importance to protecting the public from injury and loss of property.”

The Weather Forecasting Improvement Act protects lives and property through improved weather research to better forecast tornadoes and hurricanes and to increase warning lead times. The bill encourages NOAA to actively consider new commercial data and private sector weather solutions.  It also aims to speed technologies developed through NOAA’s weather research into operation.

Rep. Jim Bridenstine: “Mr. Speaker, on May 20 of last year, a massive tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma with little warning.  The Moore tornado killed 24 Oklahomans, injured 377, and resulted in an estimated $2 billion in damage.  A warning was issued only 15 minutes before the tornado touched down.  Mr. Speaker, America can do better than 15 minutes.  The Weather Forecasting Improvement Act is the first step toward restoring America’s leadership in weather forecasting and prediction.”

The bipartisan legislation was approved by voice vote.