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Frequently Asked Questions: Washington’s Birthday

Q. Why did the National Weather Service (NWS) change its weather forecast references from Presidents Day to Washington’s Birthday in 2011?

A.  Weather forecast references were changed because the holiday is officially designated as “Washington’s Birthday” in Section 6103 (a) of Title 5 of the United States Code, which is the law that specifies holidays for Federal employees.  Although other institutions such as state and local governments and private businesses may use other names, it is NWS policy to refer to holidays by the names designated in the law.

Q. Wasn’t the holiday changed to Presidents Day when it was established by Congress to be observed on the third Monday in February?

A. No.  The effort to rename the holiday Presidents Day, intended to honor the birthdays of both Washington and Lincoln, failed in Congressional committee.  The bill, which was then signed into law on June 28, 1968, specified that the Federal holiday would retain the name Washington’s Birthday. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act of January 1, 1971, established its observance on the third Monday in February.

Q. What changes did the NWS implement to make this change?

A. The NWS changed the software on all its Internet web pages and at all local Weather Forecast Offices so that forecasts which include Washington’s Birthday will show the officially designated name for the holiday this year and into the future.

Q. Is there a link which lists Federal Holidays?

A. Yes. The link is:

http://www.opm.gov/Operating_Status_Schedules/fedhol/2011.asp

 

 

 

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