There's a new weather sheriff in town.
NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) has a new voice these days, and his name is Paul. (I'm flattered, and suddenly a little self-conscious about my job security.)
The new "Paul" is really, really good. He's a big upgrade from the old Paul of many years ago. Pretty smooth in my book.
Over the years several voices have been added to the NWR stable of automated weather-bots. Here's a history of the voices that have aired on NOAA Weather Radio.
Here's the old Paul with a weather synopsis. Kinda clunky.
Here's Javier with the Spanish version forecast. Significantly more suave and smooth.
Then there was Tom. Here's his rather laid-back southern California marine forecast.
And Donna? Cool, smooth and professional as a weather presenter.
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Here's more on how NWR voices have evolved over the years from NOAA.
To cope with the increasing number of transmitters at each office, and to speed the overall delivery of warning messages to the public, the Console Replacement System (CRS) was deployed at NWS Weather Forecast Offices in the late 1990s. CRS introduced a computerized voice nicknamed "Paul" using the DECTalk text-to-speech system. DECTalk grew out of research by the late Dr. Dennis Klatt of MIT. While CRS greatly enhanced the speed of delivery and scheduling of Weather Radio messages, there was some dissatisfaction with Paul's voice.
The National Weather Service embarked on a Voice Improvement Processor (VIP) program in late 2000, and implemented newer text-to-speech voices nationwide in 2002, nicknamed "Donna" and "Craig". A year later, further updates were made. The "Donna" voice was improved, "Craig" was replaced by "Tom", and a Spanish voice "Javier" was added at a few sites.
The new Paul comes as part of a major upgrade to NWR technology. And yes, there was an audition between Linda, Paul, Donna, Art and Craig. Paul won.
The new Paul may still have some pronunciation issues. I mean hey, nobody's perfect the first few weeks on the job right? Apparently Paul's pitch and pronunciation are adjustable to some degree.
Let's hear him pronounce 'Lac qui Parle' County.