Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Wednesday 5 October 2005

Accuweather, NWS, NHS Woo Franklin Graham For Hurricane Forecasting

"Pipeline To God Would Corner Market"; Some Say Could Lead To First Weather Emmy"

Saying he could be a "tremendous asset" to the prediction of future hurricanes and major storms, three of the nation's weather giants are pursuing signing evangelist Franklin Graham to their team with, what an industry insider said would be, "the largest contract paid in the weather business."

Accuweather, the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center all want Graham, son of the legendary Billy Graham and head of the Samaritans Purse organization, after his comments that "God is going to use that storm to bring a revival. God has a plan. God has a purpose."

"Having a pipeline to God," said Accuweather Founder and President Joel Myers, "That would allow us to corner the market. We'd be untouchable … Our Neilson's would go through the roof."

Frank Lepore, Public Affairs Officer for the National Weather Service wouldn't comment on the offer made to Graham.

"Having him would be a tremendous asset," said Lepore.

While his organization is in the hunt for Graham, Max Mayfield, of the National Hurricane Center, took a more cautious tone when speaking about Graham.

"He certainly has a unique perspective," said Mayfield. "We have the science and technology end of this handled pretty well. Perhaps he can help fill in some of the background."

In an interview Tuesday, with John King on CNN's 'The Situation Room', Graham embellished his forecasting skills.

"God will use this storm in a way that will benefit the people of New Orleans and the people of Louisiana and Mississippi in a much stronger way in the years to come."

For Accuweather to land Graham, this would be the second coup of the year for them. Earlier this year, Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) filed Senate Bill 786, which will limit the National Weather Service to delivering severe weather forecasts, not daily local forecasts that are profit makers for commercial weather forecasters.

AccuWeather is the largest (325 employees) of 14 commercial weather forcasting companies in Pennsylvania.

Noticeably absent for the Graham pursuit is The Weather Channel.

"We have no changes to our on-air personnel or forecasting staff planned," said spokesperson Kathy Lane.

"I don't see TWC sitting this one out," says Diane Strzesak, who speculates on weather futures for the investor newsletter "Blowing Winds'.

"Whoever lands this guy [Graham], is going to see a huge bump in their stock prices, revenue streams, right down the line. This will raise 'Must-See-TV' to a whole new level."

Tom Shales, the Pulitzer Prize-winning TV critic of The Washington Post agrees.

"We could see the first Emmy given to a weather broadcast."

Graham has refused comment on the speculation of taking on a weather post and there is no date set yet on when the weather services hope to have him signed.

"We still have a few weeks left of the hurricane season, " said Myers. "Then it's winter and the blizzards and we'd love to hear what he has to say on that."

Mirimax announced tofday that former ambassador Joe Wilson, and his wife, Valerie Plame, who are at the center of the special prosecutor's investigation into the Bush Administration leaks, will star as Nick and Nora Charles, in an updated version of the famous 'Thin Man' series.

No comments: