Did you know that deep within the federal bureaucracy there's a 17-member panel called the Weather Modification Advisory Board?

Did you know that between this board and various other parts of the Washington establishment, the federal government has been spending some $19 million a year on various programs aimed at changing the weather?We mention this just in case a few house-bound Utahns are able to pry themselves away from their heaters and electric blankets long enough to support a suggestion we have for the federal weather modifiers.

The suggestion?

Forget about all those efforts to enhance the ability of cloud-seeders to produce more snow. We have quite enough for now, thank you.

Forget, too, those exotic efforts to control lightning by dissipating the cloud systems that form thunderstorms. So far, those efforts seem to have been better at dissipating money than at dissipating clouds.

Instead, the weather researchers need to start focusing on ways to reverse the wind's direction, a task that shouldn't be beyond the many blowhards in this nation's capital.

Yes, we know that some people like the record cold spell brought to Utah by the recent winds out of the Arctic - people like those at the gas company and the plumbers getting rich by fixing broken water pipes. Yes, we know that tough weather, like any other kind of adversity, builds character.

But enough is enough. What's needed now is a halt to those stiff blasts from the North. Then kindly bring on a gentle breeze from the sunny South. Won't you folks at the Weather Modification Advisory Board please see what you can do about it?

Don't cold-shoulder this simple request. We have enough cold shoulders already. Besides, we understand President Bush is looking for ways to trim the federal deficit and he just might be interested in a board with 17 jobs and an operation that spends $19 million. Well, you astute people at the Weather Modification Board surely must get the idea.