National Weather Service employees work Christmas as storm system moves in

With Wednesday’s stormy forecast, local meteorologists working for the National Weather Service couldn't take the holiday off.

In most North Texas communities, Christmas was a day of relaxation, peace and calm, apart for the requisite test rides of toys. Contrast that to the community inside the National Weather Service Fort Worth office, where there are no days off, especially with the potential for strong storms on the horizon.

“It's tough sometimes to be away from family for a few hours or friends but it's a service that we're all motivated to provide,” said lead meteorologist Joey Picca.

The strong weather forecast for Wednesday has the potential to shake up North Texas plans.

They day after Christmas is always a busy travel day both by air and road. The NWS, per usual, has folks on call for extra hands if the winter gets bad, and they are doing it all right now with no guarantee of an on-time paycheck, as one of the many agencies affected by the government shutdown.

For this team of meteorologists, it’s spending part of the holiday doing what they love. The gift is in the journey.

“You know we signed up for this, and we knew we would be working different hours, evenings, nights,” said Picca.

“It's actually not bad working on Christmas, for us we work for 8 hours and you have 16 hours to have time with your family and maybe sleep a little,” said meteorologist Juan Hernandez.

It wasn’t too long ago that office was very busy this time of the year. Christmas 2015 brought tornados to North Texas. Although the systems are very different, it’s a reminder that severe weather doesn't discriminate by calendar year.