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Weather service officials say problems getting a new satellite into orbit may force forecasters to operate without one of their main tools for tracking major storms.

At the same time, a dispute with a contractor has delayed new radars to be used for tornado forecasting, according to weather service officials who on Tuesday said the planned modernization of the service also was behind schedule.The modernization was expected to reduce the total number of weather offices across the country from the current 249 to 115.