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Hidden in National Weather Service forecast: P-L-E-A-S-E-P-A-Y-U-S

By Greg Botelho, CNN
October 4, 2013 -- Updated 2323 GMT (0723 HKT)
The National Weather Service's forecast for Alaska contained a cryptic message, deciphered by using the first letter of each line of text.
The National Weather Service's forecast for Alaska contained a cryptic message, deciphered by using the first letter of each line of text.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A National Weather Service's Anchorage office forecast may have a subliminal message
  • The first letters of one section line up to spell out "please pay us"
  • Meteorologists decline to comment on the message
  • Weather Service employees are working but not getting paid due to government shutdown

(CNN) -- Sometimes, it pays to read between the lines.

At least that may be the message --and, more accurately, the hope -- of workers at the National Weather Service office in Anchorage, Alaska.

The message can be found in an official forecast put out at 5 a.m. (9 a.m. ET) that seems, at first glance, routine with its discussion of air pressure, wind speeds and weather systems.

But if you line up the first letters of each word from top-to-bottom in the forecast, under the heading "Analysis and Upper levels," there's something else there: P-L-E-A-S-E-P-A-Y-U-S.

That breaks down into three simple words: Please pay us.

Meteorologists at the service's Anchorage office declined Friday afternoon to comment on the possibly cryptic wording, saying they can only speak about weather-related matters. It was not immediately clear who exactly put out the forecast or whether a message was intentionally tucked into it.

Still, it's no secret that National Weather Service employees -- like other federal government employees -- aren't getting paid as long as the government is shut down. That began Tuesday and there has been no indication that it will end anytime soon, with Democrats and Republicans holding firm on their positions that the other is to blame and that they won't budge.

Up to 800,000 federal workers are at risk of furlough, meaning they won't report to work until the sides agree on a spending plan that President Barack Obama signs into law.

Other federal employees are still working, because what they do is considered essential by the government. That includes many at the National Weather Service.

Whenever the shutdown ends, these government workers should get back-pay. But there's no telling when that will happen, meaning they could work for days, weeks or months before they take home a paycheck.

CNN's Kevin Wang contributed to this report.

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