Paging Captain Arrrgh

Captain Arrrgh, your Senator is again up to no good. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) wants to ban the National Weather Service from putting up free weather reports and forecasts on the web because that would be bad for the commercial weather companies, like State College-based Accuweather.

Do you want a seven-day weather forecast for your ZIP code? Or hour-by-hour predictions of the temperature, wind speed, humidity and chance of rain? Or weather data beamed to your cellphone?

That information is available for free from the National Weather Service.

But under a bill pending in the U.S. Senate, it might all disappear.

The bill, introduced last week by Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., would prohibit federal meteorologists from competing with companies such as AccuWeather and The Weather Channel, which offer their own forecasts through paid services and free ad-supported Web sites.

Supporters say the bill wouldn’t hamper the weather service or the National Hurricane Center from alerting the public to hazards — in fact, it exempts forecasts meant to protect “life and property.”

But how would the NOAA issue weather warnings if it doesn’t collect any weather data and run forecast models? And if it is doing all that, then why shouldn’t it be able to make it available to the public?

I use the National Weather Service XML feeds to put the current weather and 2-day forecast of Atlanta on the sidebar on the blog main page. That is a very useful and free service and I don’t know of anything comparable from The Weather Channel or AccuWeather.

Via The Carpetbagger Report.

Categorized as Politics

By Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer


  1. CA (takes center stage, dawns slight mocking sneer, and begins with a tone somewhere betwixt sarcastic and paternal):

    Ah Ricky…who would have thought the “Weather Lobby” that powerful or a state senator that desperate for corporate support? Ricky, Ricky what ever shall we Pennites do with you?

    Unfortunately, I cannot meaningfully threaten to vote against him because his support for Gulf War II already cost him my vote. I can, of course, lie through my keyboard about how my “great respect” for his actions as senator is being shaken, “shaken to its very foundations senator,” by this, “saddening and yet completely out of character,” weather forecasting privatization campaign.

    (Assuming a reflective tone as strokes short beard)

    I could do this. But, he sometimes misses the point. You see; I last wrote to these fellows about the strategic military and economic reasons that were best served by not sending US troops to conquer Iraq. He (or maybe it was Specter) responded with a lengthy letter expressing his adamant belief that the embargo must be maintained. Mind you, I did not write one word about the embargo. Based on this experience, railing against the privatization of weather forecasting might elicit a communiqué expressing his unwavering faith that superior tornado modeling leads to a greater expression of “family values” at the Pittston Tomato Festival.

    Disclaimer: I hold nothing against tornado modeling, the Tomato Festival or family values

  2. Zack: There seems to be some problem with posting comments on your latest post, that is why I am posting my comment here and I am very excited.

    زکریا؛ ویسے تو میں جہاں نما کو ووٹ دینا چاہتا ہوں لیکن میرے خیال میں بہتر ہوگا اگر اسے jahan-numa بنا دیا جائے کیونکہ jahannama کو کچھ لوگ غلطی سے جہنما بھی پڑھ سکتے ہیں۔

  3. Captain Arrrgh: Too bad you have lost faith in your Senators.

    Nabeel: I took the post down in the morning since there are problems voting, commenting and even displaying. Now it’s fixed. I have added the hyphen in jahan-numa. Go ahead and vote now.

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