360° Coverage : Computers replace humans reading weather reports

10 Updates

Computers replace humans reading weather reports

Jun 13 2014, 4:04am CDT | by

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Two outpost offices of the National Weather Service in Alaska are finally ending what has been a bygone practice for most of the nation for almost two decades...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

6 weeks ago

Computers replace humans reading weather reports

Jun 13 2014, 4:04am CDT | by

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Two outpost offices of the National Weather Service in Alaska are finally ending what has been a bygone practice for most of the nation for almost two decades — using real human voices in radio forecast broadcasts.

The Nome and Kodiak offices are switching to computerized voices that nationally go by the names of Tom, Donna and, in some parts of the country, Spanish-speaking Javier. It's an idea first hatched in the mid-1990s as part of a move to modernize the weather service, an agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Local weather forecasts are a big deal to many people in Alaska because, more than in some other parts of the United States, the forecasts can be a matter of life and death. The forecasts are broadcast on NOAA's weather radio network.

In Nome and Kodiak, weather reports are crucial for many because of the severe weather that can affect fishing vessels in far-flung regions, including the Bering Sea (think of the violent storms on the cable television show "The Deadliest Catch") and the Gulf of Alaska.

Knowing what the weather will do is also extremely important to pilots and passengers needing to get to larger cities. Kodiak is on an island, and Nome is on the western coast with no roads to link it to another major Alaska hub city.

The weather forecasts are so important that they are also broadcast over radio stations in Nome, including KNOM, which first reported the changes.

The Nome office briefly activated the technology this week through the Fairbanks office, one of three forecast offices in Alaska. Other smaller outpost offices scattered throughout the state have already gone the digital voice route.

A technological kink, however, prompted the Nome office to go back to local weather service employees reading the forecasts until the problem is rectified in the near future, officials said.

It's a job that meteorological technician Robert Murders dreaded when he first moved to Nome, an old gold rush town about 550 miles northwest of Anchorage. Then he got to enjoy reading the forecasts. He was watching the Discovery Channel reality show, "Bering Sea Gold," last season when he heard one of his own broadcasts in the background.

"That was kind of cool," Murders said.

But he also recognizes the speed and efficiency of using the automated voices, which are updated immediately, even if no one is in the office.

There is no target date for making the switch at the service office in Kodiak, located on the island of the same name. Angel Corona, with the weather service's data-acquisition branch in Anchorage, said work is underway to patch that office with the Anchorage forecast office for the broadcasts.

The Nome and Kodiak offices are being brought into the digital-voice era as part of a national initiative involving improvements to the system, Corona said. Alaska is the only state that still has such smaller outposts, while similar offices were closed long ago in the lower 48.

Other sites to be converted later to digital voices are in the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa and Northern Mariana islands, officials said.

Wherever the digital voices are deployed, they can be customized to pronounce locations accurately.

Tom, Donna and Javier are a huge improvement over the first voice introduced so long ago. There was some dissatisfaction with that voice, dubbed Paul, who sounded like a Scandinavian robot. The voices used today have been better received.

"It sounds pretty good," Corona said. "It sounds like a computer, but you can understand it."

That's all that matters to Lucas Stotts, the Nome harbormaster. That and getting weather updates as quickly and accurately as possible, he said.

Besides, he said, some humans read those reports in monotone voices anyway.

___

Follow Rachel D'Oro at —https://twitter.com/rdoro

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat was ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken into b ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the Dewan Rakyat t ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

8 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an al ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

8 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar Scheme 2014 ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

8 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansara Skyway (Ki ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Associated Press</a>
The Associated Press (AP) is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

OPEC daily basket price closes lower
Vienna, July 31 (IANS) The basket of 12 crude oils of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stood at $105.21 a barrel Wednesday, against $105.44 Tuesday, according to the OPEC Secretariat.
 
 
Ebola outbreak not a global threat: Report
London, July 31 (IANS) The deadly Ebola virus does not pose a global threat, a latest report has claimed, adding that as long as the virus continues to infect people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, there is small risk of more long-distance export of the disease.
 
 
Getting chatty with meow chat
New York, July 31 (IANS) A new chat app is on the prowl, stalking users on social networks like a cat.
 
 
Mexican journalist murdered at home
Mexico City, July 31 (IANS/EFE) A Mexican journalist was found stabbed to death in his home in the town of Guadalupe in the country's north central Zacatecas, sources said Thursday.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Indian wrestler Geetika gets silver
Glasgow, July 31 (IANS) India's Geetika Jakhar had to settle for the silver medal after she lost the women's freestyle 63 kg final to Canada's Danielle Lappage in the 2014 Commonwealth Games at the SECC Hall here...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Yogeshwar wins fifth wrestling gold for India
Glasgow, July 31 (IANS) Olympic bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt won the fifth wrestling gold medal for India beating Jevon Balfour of Canada in the final of the men's freestyle 65kg category in the 2014 Commonwealth...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
China launches fresh drive against corruption
Beijing, July 31 (IANS) China's top anti-graft agency has sent 13 inspection teams across the country in its fresh crackdown on official misconduct. Inspectors will oversee the performance of officials in the...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Dipa first Indian woman to clinch CWG gymnastics medal
Glasgow, July 31 (IANS) Dipa Karmakar became the first Indian woman and the second person from the country to clinch a historic Commonwealth Games medal in artistic gymnastics when she won the women's vault bronze at...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Drew Barrymore's half-sister death an accident?
Drew Barrymore's half-brother doesn't believe their half-sister committed suicide. Jessica Barrymore was found dead in her car by a neighbor on Tuesday (07.29.14) with pills reportedly scattered around her but John...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kate Hudson: 'Heath Ledger was best kisser'
Kate Hudson says Heath Ledger was her best ever on-screen kiss. The 35-year-old actress - who has sons Ryder, 10, from her marriage to Matt Bellamy, and Bingham, three, with fiance Matt Bellamy - has shared smooches...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden considering marriage?
Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden have ''already discussed marriage''. Although the 41-year-old actress and the 35-year-old musician have only been dating for a few months, they are already practically living together and...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Conan O'Brien won't follow celebrities
Conan O'Brien refuses to follow celebrities on Twitter. The 51-year-old talk show host randomly selected one person to follow in 2010 - fan Sarah Killen - and has yet to add to his list, often refusing celebrity pals...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Indian wrestler Babita wins gold
Glasgow, July 31 (IANS) Indian wrestler Babita Kumari put on a stunning show to win the gold medal beating Canada's Brittanee Laverdure in the final of the women's 55kg freestyle category in the 2014 Commonwealth Games...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Muslim priest killed in China, two arrested
Beijing, July 31 (IANS) At least two suspects were shot dead and another arrested after an imam of China's largest mosque was murdered in a city in the country's restive Xinjiang region, police said Thursday. Jume...
Read more on Politics Balla