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Secret Coded Plea on National Weather Service Site: 'Please Pay Us'

October 6, 2013

JUNEAU, Alaska — There was more than the forecast in a National Weather Service dispatch Friday for south-central and southwestern Alaska.

The "Anchorage area forecast discussion" posted online and sent to media outlets at 5 a.m. contained a secret message: The first letters of each line on the left-hand column read "PLEASE PAY US."

Agency employees are required to work during the partial federal government shutdown to provide weather forecasts and any warnings. It's unclear when they'll get paid.

A version of the post that was on the agency website later Friday didn't include the apparent message.

A person who answered the phone at the Anchorage weather office declined to answers questions about the message or identify himself, saying the office could comment only about the weather.

The message was first reported by the Washington Post, and is still accessible in the NWS archives. However, it will keep moving down as new forecasts are issued.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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