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Students interested in knowing the weather forecast need not wait until the 11:00 p.m. news to find out if they have to take an umbrella with them to class anymore. Now, they only have to pick up their phones and dial 898-4CST, the University's new, free weather information service. In what is one of the first systems of its kind, the University has combined Accu-Weather, a private weather information service, with voicemail to form a convenient and economical service for students. The service, implemented this fall by the Office of Business Services, had been discussed for a number of years, but due to a lack of technology and prohibitive costs, the project was unfeasible, according to Steve Murray, associate vice president of business services. Based on a survey conducted last year of all 573 and 898 exchange numbers, staff and students ran up a bill of over $30,000 in calls to Bell's weather recording. The new service will cost the University only $3500 a year, which will cover maintenance and Accu-Weather service fees. Murray said business services hopes to arrange a function by early October which would prevent students and staff from dialing the more expensive Bell number. The forecast can be heard 24 hours a day by calling 8-4CST from any campus phone. The information is updated at least three times per day and more often in the event of hurricane or tornado warnings. While many students said they have not tried the system yet, they agreed it will be convenient. "I'm from Texas and I have trouble telling when it will rain," Wharton sophomore Andrew Chen said. "And I can't check the news because I don't have a TV." "I [usually] listen to the radio, but if I didn't, it sounds like it would be a good service to use," said Engineering sophomore Matt Bixler. For those students who haven't yet found the time to call, today's forcast "exclusively for the University of Pennsylvania" is "partly to mostly sunny, breezy and warm, with lowing humidity, high of 84."

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