Feds' weather information could go dark

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by zimv20, Apr 23, 2005.

  1. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #1
    link

    (emphasis mine)
     
  2. dvdh macrumors 6502

    dvdh

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    #2
    In Canada we have a national (read government agency: Environment Canada) providing national weather forecasts and information. Quite frankly I find it much better than the private services (which most get their info from Environment Canada anyways.) The one thing that sets Environment Canada apart is the fact that as a government agency with an equal responsibility to ever citizen of the country, they offer the forecasts and weather reports for areas that the private companies would skip over because of lack of demand and interest. Being not profit driven provides an equality of service that private sector often falls short on.

    Personally, if a similar situation arises in Canada regarding Environment Canada being perceived to be in unhealthy competition to private enterprise, I would have to side with the federal service because I don't feel weather services (often an issue of human safety) should be provided strictly on a for profit basis.
     
  3. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #3
    I'll tell Santorum exactly what Republicans used to say: if you want to compete, build a better product, dammit!

    I work for a community that provides a low-power radio station carrying 24-hour warnings about road hazards and weather. Guess where that weather report comes from? Guess what we won't be able to afford if Santorum takes the NOAA forecasts away?

    What a first-rate jackass. :mad:
     
  4. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    #4
    Sanitorium...

    Always good for entertainment. I hate that guy.
     
  5. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #5
    Speaking from first hand experience. Commercial weather companies provide better forecasts than the National Weather Service. Part of the problem is that not many people care if you average half a degree off rather than 2 degrees off.

    The real profit comes in value added services things like specific forecasts for things like sporting events and in providing forecasts for specific outlets and not for the general public.
     
  6. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #6
    True Story.

    A private weather company started providing service to radio stations in Canada. The service was broadcast meteorologists giving forecasts over the radio, providing custom forecasts for the listening area. In addition to the forecasts there was banter with the radio stations personalities and discussion of the days weather events. This was not a simple Rip and Read fax though that was provided as well. Environment canada then started providing the same service to those radio stations for free.
     
  7. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #7
    I haven't been paying much attention to where the private forecasters get their info, but isn't a lot of it from the feds?

    My basic response to Santorum, given my last several years' use of the Web for weather checking, is, "Hey, wipe your mouth! You still have some BS on your lips!"

    I had some back-and-forth emailing with WeatherUnderground, a few years back. I asked why they didn't show where a front was, today; where it was expected to be tomorrow, and then a guess as to the third day. I was told that it was a bit difficult to put on their map. Why? Dunno. A three-day sequence of frontal movements is what I've always found to be most useful, particularly in winter. I know enough about my local area's weather patterns to figure out what's likely to happen...

    What gripes me about the wx presentations is the amount of time telling what happened yesterday, and what's going on right now (Like I don't have a window?) The Weather Channel really sucks, insofar as really useful forecast information. They're too busy emoting.

    And as long as I'm venting :)D): What's with this "We expect shower activity." BS? Why not, "We expect showers."? Why add the extraneous words? To make themselves sound knowledgeable or (Oh, heavens!) erudite?

    The Intellicast 10-day forecast have been reasonably accurate, in my experience. Fairly quick downloads.

    My next gripe is with the public at large. Ladybird's TV station in Austintatious once had a truly competent, professional meterologist who gave a really useful presentation. None of this giggle-giggle tee-hee garbage. They fired him and went to g-g t-h stuff. Danged if the ratings didn't go up! Arrgghhhhh!

    'Rat
     
  8. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #8
     
  9. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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  10. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    #10
     
  11. zimv20 thread starter macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #11
    unless we pay again.

    anyone want to guess how many times we pay for scientific journals? i think we're up to 3x now.
     
  12. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #12
    Not so, also speaking from first-hand experience. Most of the commercial weather sites stink. For the most part, they get their data and forecasts from the NWS, and at best, regurgitate them verbatim, and at worst, digest them into pretty little weather icons that are worth zip to anyone who actually needs to know about the weather. Tell me, for example, where you can find a Discussion Forecast on any commercial web site?

    I remember a few years ago when Republicans in Congress tried to get rid of the USGS because they "compete" with commercial map-makers. This is the same sort of blind idiocy.
     
  13. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

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    #13
     
  14. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    #14
    If the NWS is forced to cut its forecast staff, won't that limit their resource pool when it comes to forecasting things like hurricanes, tornadoes and floods?

    And, as IJ Reilly pointed out, the NWS addresses many aspects you just don't see with commercial weather services.
     
  15. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #15
    http://wwwa.accuweather.com/news-summaries.asp?partner=accuweather&myadc=0&traveler=0&type=wxnews

    There is even more in depth analysis on the pay side.

    Icons are useful to get a lot of information at a glance.
     
  16. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #16
    Icons are utterly useless for all serious purposes. Anyway, you clearly don't understand what I am taking about. Here is a typical forecast discussion from the NWS.

    These Area Forecast Discussions come out four times a day for every part of the country. They provide essential information for people who have to know more about the weather than whether to wear a long sleeve or short sleeve shirt to the mall.

    Oh, and what's going to happen to the NWS aviation desk?
     
  17. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #17
    Even more to the point, the commercial weather services for the most part do no original forecasting -- they repackage the NWS's data and forecasts. Take a look sometime at the wording of the "Your Local Forecast" segment on the Weather Channel (assuming they are broadcasting the one that's actually relevant to where you live), and compare it to the NWS's Zone Forecast. Strangely enough, they are the same! How the heck did that happen, I wonder? The point has already been made, but it's worth making again: we are being asked to pay for the same information twice. And why? Let me think a moment, I know I'll come up with some explanation...
     
  18. zimv20 thread starter macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #18
    i assume you have evidence this is happening?
     
  19. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    #19
    That's funny, because you get the same info out of the NWS if you look at their site.

    http://www.srh.noaa.gov/data/CTP/AFDCTP

    The only difference (besides being bombarded with ads) would be that we'd rely on commercial forecasters to deliver this to us properly.

    Are you proposing that the NWS stop making forecasts and just provide raw data? I don't think the pay-weather services could afford the staff to make these same forecasts. No, they don't want that. They want to keep their free forecasts.

    You are simply proposing that the NWS stop making its forecasts available to anyone other than commercial services. We pay either way.
     
  20. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    #20
    I also propose that police stop investigating murders. Because they do this for free, it competes unfairly with private investigators.
     
  21. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #21
    With some effort, I found the bill as it was introduced by Santorum (S. 786). Oddly enough, it wasn't even linked on Santorum's web site. Well maybe not so oddly, once you get a load of this provision of the bill:

    IOW, a NWS employee who discloses a weather forecast would be breaking the law. Nice.

    BTW, did we mention that AccuWeather is headquartered in Pennsylvania? It's just a coincidence, I'm sure.
     
  22. zimv20 thread starter macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #22
    whuh? perhaps that's the driving force here. i'd love to see the research on the adverse effect weather reports have on commerce.

    the GOP reality distortion field is in full effect: controlling information about the weather is akin to controlling the weather.

    rather insidious that the GOP considers timely delivery of Corn Flakes more important that letting people know about dangerous weather.
     
  23. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    Only if he discloses it to the public.

    If Accuweather doesn't want competition from us (we are the government), maybe they should buy their own satellites, supercomputers and meteorologists.

    Here's the juicy "subsection c" to which your quoted portion refers:

    IOW, you must rely on commercial weather reporting to warn you of dangerous weather. And hope they don't decide to start charging us for those warnings. Pilots, boaters and sailors would also be at the mercy of commercial providers to distribute the weather reports. If they would choose not to provide such services, then no such service would be available.
     
  24. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #24
    Does anybody know if there is a companion bill in the House?

    'Rat
     
  25. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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