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SCI/TECH: What if we had to pay for weather services?

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posted on Jun, 2 2005 @ 08:39 AM
A bill introduced last week by Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum would prohibit federal weather agencies from offering free weather information. The gripe is also being heard from paid weather services such as AccuWeather. As with MANY of our new "laws", the wording seems to be VERY vague as to what this would cover. Supporters point out that it exempts forecasts meant to "protect life and property". What information would be removed is to be decided by Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez.
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 critics say the bill's wording is so vague they can't tell exactly what it would ban.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

First of all, I'm sure somewhere within our practically infinite government taxation that these services are being paid for...they're government agencies after all. Secondly, if this were to pass, in a worst case scenario, all that we would receive is "warm and sunny" forecasts. The list of questions in my head just keep coming...
Why would the COMMERCE sercretary be in charge of this?
What would happen to the weather portion of our newscasts?
Would we be charged to receive our TV forecasts?
Would it be illegal to get international forecasts for our area?
I just don't understand...

posted on Jun, 2 2005 @ 09:04 AM
we are already being charged for any thing on tv....try turning on your new big screen but unplugg the cable wire or turn off the dish...what ya got???

posted on Jun, 2 2005 @ 09:30 AM
Oh yeah what a great Idea
. Can you imagine all the traffic accidents, rained out baseball games, ruined family vacations, screwed up BBQ's etc...etc...

Well Im sure Senator Rick Santorum makes more than enough money to pay for weather services....this happening really would not affect him as it would the working class America.

Senator Rick Santorum should be fired for pondering up such a stupid thing along with any politician who votes in favor of, and all those who agree with him should be punished aswell for being so stupid. Just my opinion.

Ok Im waiting for someone to agree with the Senator.
Who's it gonna be?

posted on Jun, 2 2005 @ 09:47 AM
I'm a private pilot and I cannot overstate how critical the NWS is to flight safety. Most of the pre-flight planning I and fellow pilots do revolves around studying weather, radar, forcasts and the like. It is absolutely mission critical. There is NO way we can rely on 3rd party info. We need to see it and study it. I already have to pay for uploaded weather data to my plane --- but I can't argue with that. But why should I have to pay for weather data that are funded by my taxes? Santorum's pilot should ferrry him around for a month or so without weather data and see how he feels about it. What an idiot.

posted on Jun, 2 2005 @ 11:11 AM
First, let me state that I'm not in favor of this bill.

Government is not here to compete with private business. If so, government would always have the advantage of offering lower prices. And government could close down any competitor it pleased.

Weather forecasting has become big business. And most of this business does a much better job than the government's forecasts. I've used for years and it is far better than the National Weather Service (NWS). Its cost is $7.00 a month and well worth it for any one taking weather seriously. You get present radar information instead of 10-20 minutes old radar pictures and you can track lightning strikes.

The Secretary of Commerce would oversee it because it is business, or commerce.

The weather portion of out TV newscast would continue and would probably get better because they wouldn't be relying on the NWS as much as they do now. It would continue to be free. The stations are already paying salaries to weather forecasters and weather departments and it is free to watch.

TV stations are trying to attract viewers with their weather forecasts. The viewers will then hopefully buy what they see advertised. That will continue even if they have to rely on private weather services.

Channel 13 of Tampa Bay has been a private weather service for many years selling their forecasts throughout the Caribbean and Florida businesses. And their TV forecasts have always been free.

posted on Jun, 2 2005 @ 12:56 PM
Sorry Qwas I don't buy it. Most of the data used to track and predict the weather is derived from radiosondes, high altitude aerial measurements and satellite data collected by the US Gov't at taxpayers expense. Most of the primary data the commercial weather services use they source from the NWS and repackage. Now if they want to collect all their own primary data and THEN charge us, well bless their pointy little heads --- they're entitled. But to say that we, as taxpaying citizens, should not have access to NWS data is BS. The NWS has to produce this info for civil, DOD and other applications anyway --- again at OUR expense. It's our right to have access to it. Too bad if the products produced by the NWS are getting better. The Senator is just sucking-up to the people who pay for his vacations, golf games and political contributions.

posted on Jun, 2 2005 @ 01:18 PM
What if the weather prediction was wrong, do you get your money back? Do you have to prove the weather didn´t happen in order to get your money back? Or maybe they tell you the weather after it happened? Like normal news. Pay for weather-news... incredible... For people who never go out and dont have any windows.

posted on Jun, 2 2005 @ 01:22 PM
As people have already mentioned, the taxpayers of the US already OWN this service and it's infrastructure.
Perahps the senator is more concerned about providing a monopoly for the companies that reside in his state and thus create a good campaign money donor

posted on Jun, 2 2005 @ 04:36 PM
jtma508 and others - No one is going to stop you from getting the data. Most of the data is already posted on government websites. That data will continue to be there. You will either interpret the data yourself or go to a pay site. The other option is to watch your free local evening news and get the interpretation then.

Yes, the commercial weather sites are using this free data and making better predictions than the NWS. Yes, the Congressmen are sucking-up to the people who pay his vacations, golf games, and contributions. Wouldn't you do the same?

I'm a taxpaying citizen but that gives me no right to go demand a ride in a military fighter aircraft or to sleep in Lincoln's bed. In fact, I'm not privy to get too much of anything from government.

The times are changing. The internet has made information available at a moments notice than ever before. But the NWs is an example of what the internet has hurt.

posted on Jun, 2 2005 @ 11:30 PM
Just goes to show how much our government has been taken over by coperations who provide politicians with capaign funds while leaving the average american who votes for them without a voice

posted on Jun, 2 2005 @ 11:35 PM
This is a repeat of a previously upgraded ATSNN story:

posted on Jun, 3 2005 @ 02:38 PM
Huh? WTF?

First wasting time on pro sports and steroids, now this?

We need a new government, from the top to the bottom, NOW.

Lobbyists and interns included. Out The Door.

posted on Jun, 3 2005 @ 02:54 PM
Ok, so what if it's not quite so much about money, and a bit more about controlling access to information ?

Maybe you had an interest, maybe even a pretty big interest in knowing pretty solid weather information.

Maybe if your interest was motivated by reasons that weren't generally seen as socially constructive, say you were planning on setting off a biological device in the heart of a city, then beginning to make that level of information a bit harder to obtain would make a kind of sense surely ?

Now, I know you can look out of the window, but maybe if it's an area you don't know too well, or you might not be too good at working out weather by just looking, or if the local TV channels are a bit anodyne, along the 'warm and sunny' model, then a good look at a website that gives a clear, high quality interpretation may be very useful to you.

Ok, you could pay for that data, but then you'd have to pay for it, and that leaves a scent to follow, albeit a somewhat skinny one.

I dunno, just a thought ...

posted on Jun, 3 2005 @ 04:22 PM
First, they should make the commercial weather services pay for all those satellites, ..........

What's next? Do we get a bill to prohibit the U.S. Postal Service from delivering packages because they are eating into UPS profits? This is purely and simply about money & greed.

[edit on 3-6-2005 by Astronomer68]

posted on Jun, 4 2005 @ 04:43 AM
What is so hard for you guys to comprehend?

You pay for the roads with Federal money and then PAY to get a State Drivers License and license plate to drive on them.
We have Federal and State owned Parks and then you PAY to use them.
You have the rights to bear arms but then have to PAY to get a license.
We have Federal and State lakes and hunting ranges but you have to PAY to use them.
The Federal FCC controls the airwaves but you have to PAY them to use it.
You own property but must pay your tax every year or face losing the land.

And you want to complain about the NWS???

posted on Jun, 4 2005 @ 07:21 AM
The majority of weather forecasts are incorrect IMO. How many times have you watched the weather to plan your day, and it is as wrong as wrong can be? Now they want us to pay for it?
Don't think so.

posted on Jun, 4 2005 @ 07:54 AM
Qwas I understand your point but the examples you give aren't really apples-to-apples. This is a data collection thing. And predictive patterns output from models of this data. As has been stated, as taxpayers we pay for this. Take the US Census data as another example. We pay for its collection and the reports created from it. It's free to download and available on a variety of media from the DOC for the cost of the media and shipping. There are countless companies who take that data and repackage it offereing maps and special reports and all sorts of stuff and they charge for that. Which is entirely fair. And I support the right of those companies to do that --- as long as they are providing some sort of more convenient or 'value-added' product from it. Ditto for the Wx companies. Another example, aeronautical charts. These puiblications (updated every 56 days) is available from the FAA/DOD free to download and at nominal cost as printed documents. Jeppsen and Air Chart Systems (2 of many companies) offer their own publications based on this data. Both of which charge --- alot! I've subscribed to both over the years because I prefer the way their materials are organized (read: value added). And Jeppsen is the leading provider of electronic versions of the data for onboard navigation (GPS, LORAN RNAV) systems. Again, repackaging. In MHO the difference for the commercial Wx companies is that they are not providing a significant enough 'value-add' to draw people away from the basic services offered by the NWS. And to another of your points, I am talking about reviewing the Wx data and making my own conclusions. For pilots and sailors and such it's the only way we can do it. Shall we start charing for the data provided by the National Hurricane Center as well so some company can make a profit from all those people in the path of an on-coming hurricane?

posted on Jun, 4 2005 @ 08:15 AM
I live in FL.

They are never right anyways, so nobody would pay!

For example... I took the day after Memorial Day go to Busch Gardens. On Memorial Day, they said it would rain ALL DAY, 80% chance of rain, and thunderstorms (not just rain, storms). Tuesday morning, same forecast, and it rained until about 9am. Well, we were determined to go anyhow... Rain stopped, it shaped up to be a BEAUTIFUL day, and we got to ride Sheekra (new coaster) with absolutely NO lines, NO waiting. Probably the best day I've had at a theme park (and I've had a lot).

posted on Jun, 4 2005 @ 09:08 AM
Good for you gaz. I don't think the blame is on the forecasters and their models though. As most of us here know, the weather is getting a little out of hand lately.
It seems "mother nature" is gettin' pretty good with her "curve balls".

posted on Jun, 4 2005 @ 04:16 PM
Mayby the whole country should send Senator Santorum an E-mail telling him what a bummer of an idea his bill is.

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