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Secret coded plea on National Weather Service site: 'PLEASE PAY US'

NBC News

The first letters of each line of the Friday morning forecast for Anchorage, Alaska, spelled out PLEASE PAY US.

Someone at the Anchorage, Alaska, office of the National Weather Service has a message for Americans four days into the shutdown of the federal government:


The message was hidden in the first paragraph of the early morning forecast for the Anchorage region Friday. The first letters of each line of the paragraph spell it out — a type of simple code called an acrostic.

Most federal services are on hold because of the shutdown, but weather forecasts aren't among them because they're considered information "necessary to protect life and property."

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The person answering the phone at the Anchorage office wasn't immediately able to track down anyone who knew about the hidden message or who could say how it made it on to the agency's website.

But someone was on duty, because about the time NBC News called to ask about it, the message was replaced at the same URL without the pay-us demand. NBC News took a screenshot before it vanished, above. 

And for a while, at least, the message was still accessible in the archives. At 6:30 p.m. ET, it was the third entry on this page, but it will keep moving down as new forecasts are issued.