The process was drawn out and confusing, but it’s finally over: Verizon has officially pulled the plug on the local weather line for good (as the Post’s John Kelly reported yesterday). Call now and, instead of the voice of D.C. Weather Services’ Keith Allen, you hear “your call cannot be completed as dialed.”
Strangely, even after the service continued into October, Verizon left on a pre-recorded message indicating the service would be terminated June 1. It also quietly cut off access to the line from Virginia (703) and Maryland (301) area codes, only keeping the D.C. line (202) operational.
Since announcing plans to end the service, Verizon has entertained the idea of making the 936-1212 number available to outside parties. And several entities expressed interest. The Post’s John Kelly wrote the following on October 4:
Telecompute, a local company that provides recorded telephone information in markets around the country, said it’s interested in taking over the service. It has lined up sponsorship from two local entities. Telecompute would like to have the magic number — 936-1212 — since it’s ingrained in so many heads.
But, said Telecompute’s Warren Miller, Verizon keeps stringing him along, asking whether he really has the capacity to handle the calls.
Now that Verizon has cutoff the line, the fate of the number is unclear. Verizon spokesperson Sandra Arnette wrote the following in an email to Kelly:
...we are in the process of making the necessary changes to actually remove the weather line number from our network. If we decide not to use the number for other purposes, it will be returned to the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA).
Although it’s unknown whether Washingtonians will ever again access weather forecasts on that number, Telecompute’s Warren Miller, beginning today, has brought aboard D.C. Weather Services to provide their forecasts at 202-589-1212.
“We had over 2,000 callers today,” Miller said. “We’ll do what we have to do to build that up.”
Miller says he intends to go after the 936-1212 number and hopes Verizon will cooperate.
“I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t by ported over [by Verizon],” he said.
Howard Phoebus, a veteran forecaster for D.C. Weather Services, is relieved there’s still an outlet for his predictions.
“It is a different format but we're happy with it and happy to have a place to continue our forecasting activities, ” he said.