The Washington Post

Saying goodbye to telephone weather (936-1212)

O.K., I’ll admit it. When I was a kid, I’d wake myself up multiple times on nights with snow in the forecast to dial 936-1212. My anticipation for the latest forecast would build as I heard that familiar opening - “The current downtown temperature is....”

While I found less and less use for the service once I learned to predict the weather myself, it’s a little sad, but not surprising, to hear that after 70 years Verizon plans to pull the plug on telephone time (844-1212) and weather on June 1. Metro columnist John Kelly wrote yesterday about the news and the reasoning behind it:

Here’s how Verizon spokeswoman Sandra Arnette put it in an e-mail to me: “Time and weather services are a remnant of another era - when sources for this information were very limited. That’s no longer the case, as people can get time and weather information from radio, TV weather channels, online sites, wireless phones, PDAs and many landline phones.”

As a budding meteorologist I was surely more weather-crazy than most of the millions of Washingtonians who have called in over the years, but I’d bet there are plenty more beyond those quoted in Kelly’s article who are disappointed by the scheduled demise of 936-1212, and probably some (especially of younger generations) that don’t even know the service exists.

Dan Stillman is a meteorologist and editor for the Capital Weather Gang. He earned an M.S. in Meteorology from Texas A&M University, and a B.S. in Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences from the University of Michigan.

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