Coverage of the stalemate in Congress that forced the U.S. government to a standstill

Government Weather Forecasters in Secret Code: "Please Pay Us"

In the face of the government shutdown, says the weather workers' union chief, "nobody knows when anyone's going to get paid."

Friday, Oct 4, 2013  |  Updated 4:56 PM PDT
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Gov't Forecasters in Secret Code: "Please Pay Us"

weather.gov

The National Weather Service's meteorologists in Alaska have a message for the federal government — and in a forecast online Friday, it came courtesy of a secret code.

Some meteorologists from the National Weather Service are taking their beef with the government shutdown to their forecasts — courtesy of a secret code.

"Please pay us," read a coded message in a forecast for Anchorage, Alaska, on Friday. (Read the first letters of every line vertically to decipher it.)

A version of the forecast with the message and another without it were both available on the weather.gov website Friday afternoon, as the Washington Post pointed out.

As the first week of the government shutdown winds down Friday, government employees are on edge about when they'll get paid. Some 800,000 of them are furloughed, unsure of whether they'll eventually be paid for their time off.

But even more federal employees who are deemed too essential to be furloughed — including more than three-quarters of the NWS staff, its union chief told Popular Science — are still working, though they too could go without pay.

"There's no money to pay them," said Dan Sobien, the National Weather Service Employees Organization's president. "Nobody knows when anyone's going to get paid."

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