Old trivia time

A bit of trivia: any old-timey chasers remember this bizarre phrase and where it came from? The error was quite common, and some of you might be able to guess what caused it.

[Computer voice reads the following]
"Midland, 5000 scattered, 10000 broken, visibility 7, temperature 72, altimeter 2999. Remarks, hail and snow north."

I'll add an interesting story about this tomorrow.

I think the "hail and snow north" came from the decoder seeing "AS N" in the remarks and thinking it meant "hail and snow north" instead of "altostratus north", right?
Yes, absolutely, that's altostratus north.

This came from IVRS (Interim Voice Response System), which the FAA ran from about 1987 to 1990. In most major cities you could dial in, and through a touchtone system get observations by entering the station identifier on the keypad. Obviously this was great for those of us who did not have an Accu-Data subscription or immediate access to a computer. It was absolutely free, and I plotted many, many surface charts using IVRS.

Even on a chase you could stop in someplace like Amarillo or Wichita Falls and get the latest observations, with no computer. Great technology for the 1980s, and not well-known either.

Interestingly it had the FDUS winds aloft, which means you could plot a pseudo- forecast sounding. I stopped doing it pretty quickly, though, as I found the temperature curves in FDUS data were excessively smoothed.