wu_radar_448.gifDo you like to get the weather forecast on your cell phone? Do you like your tax dollars paying for satellite loops? Do you enjoy the lovely graphs that Gothamist sometimes makes? All those things might disappear if Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) gets his way. Santorum has introduced legislation that would prevent the National Weather Service (NWS) from distributing any information other than severe weather alerts and possibly routine forecasts, that could be provided by the commercial weather industry. According to Santorum's statement introducing the bill, the intent is the "clarify the duties and responsibilities of the National Weather Service" especially with it's relationship to the commercial weather industry. Many people have noted that AccuWeather, which stands to be the big winner if the bill is passed, is based in Pennsylvania and that company's high executives are big contributors to Santorum's re-election campaign.

The language of the bill is contradictory, in that it enables the NWS to provide forecasts but also prohibits them from providing "products and services that could otherwise be provided by the private sector". The bill also politicizes the NWS by leaving the decision as to what they can do to the sole discretion of the Secretary of Commerce, a political appointee. Gothamist has had some firewall issues earlier in the week, so we're a bit slow in reporting this. CapitalWeather.com has covered the issue in-depth. You can read more at Betanews.com (thanks KP!), the Weather Underground, MetaFilter and many more sites.

As for today's weather, there is a band of showers about to cross the city. The showers are just passing through. The rest of the evening through tomorrow afternoon should be pleasant. Saturday should start off drizzly and crescendo with thunderstorms in the evening. Sunday and early next week should be very pleasant.

Current radar image from the weatherunderground.com