Sunday, January 1, 2012

The story behind Foot's Forecast

In September 2003, as Hurricane Isabel was bearing down on the Mid-Atlantic, the concept that launched our company was born. Influenced by suggestions from high school students, the idea was to publish authentically local weather forecasts online, making the information available for educational use by teachers and students. Today, thanks to the loyalty of our readers, and the dedication of our members, the company is 75 forecasters strong in over 25 states. What began as a high school class experiment now garners combined traffic of over 150 million hits annually to our Facebook pages and our main website, from all over the world. 
An Authentic History 

Foot's Forecast first started in a 10th grade Earth Science classroom in the Baltimore County Public Schools of Central Maryland. Science teacher Rich Foot and his students, after several wildly successful predictions of major Mid-Atlantic snowstorms during the 2002-03 season, began publishing their forecasts for use by friends and colleagues at Dundalk High School.  That idea gave rise to "Foot's Forecast" in 2003-04, named by a student who recommended the title. Forecasts were  first via published via handouts for the President's Weekend Blizzard of February 2003, and Hurricane Isabel in September 2003. The website now known as went live on January 26, 2004

Perseverance With Passion By 2005, visitors to the site were coming from well beyond Baltimore County. Forecasts in turn began to grow in scope, providing detailed weather intelligence for high impact events. Some of our notable early forecasts included calls during the Mid-Atlantic Ice Storms of 2004 to the historic 2005 hurricane season, the "Valentine's Week" storms of February 2007 and Hurricane Ike in 2008.

Collaboration Changed Everything 

In Fall 2009, the team's penchant for famously accurate forecasts went viral across the media. The secret was due to a new collaborative approach where local weather enthusiasts were invited to participate in forecasting. One of the first students was from outside Baltimore County became the first "Lead Forecaster": Greg 'Winterman' Jackson of Carroll County, MD. Shown in this 2010 photo with Meteorologist Justin Berk, North Carroll High School Principal Kim Dolch and Fusion Photographer Emily Rund. 

During the historic 2009-2010 "Snowmageddon" winter, a famous front page article in the December 19, 2009 Baltimore Sun by Science Writer Frank Roylancethe day that a historic early season snowstorm blanketed the Mid-Atlantic, followed by numerous additional articles in Maryland's Dundalk Eagle by Reporter Bill Gates. look back to our Storm Grade Data from the February 5-6, 2010 event. 

Before long, the team began attracting students from colleges in other states, including then high school students in other states. In Facebook, what started as a single page for Central Maryland now reaches nearly 50,000 readers, and launched a local zone forecasting revolution that now counts over 50 pages covering over half of the United States. 

Innovation With Impact
The 2012 Baltimore Book Festival recruited the Foot's Forecast Team to provide
on-site forecasts and public outreach during their September 28-30 event.
Since those early days, Foot's Forecast has earned attention and recognition from media, government and industry from the Mid-Atlantic to Yahoo News and the Seattle Times. Recently named "Best Weather Blog of Baltimore" the company has become the Authentic go-to local source of weather at a time of consolidation in the weather forecasting community. The Foot's Forecast difference is simple: We live the weather with you. Unlike competitors, our team forecasts from within your neighbors and communities, not from a TV station or computer thousands of miles from your location. That's the Authentic Weather difference you get from Foot's Forecast. 

If you are interested in innovating your future, join our team and become the face of the place for weather in your state or county, visit our opportunities page, or contact us today:

Authentic local weather from a trusted team

1 comment:

lanny said...

Great site. You are all doing such a wonderful job keeping the community educated and prepared for all types of weather. Thank you for a job well done. You are my only Baltimore weather source.

Lanny Dowell