Sunday, February 12, 2012

How our story began


Eight years ago, our company began with an innovative idea proposed by high school students: Publish class weather predictions on the internet, and make the information available for educational purposes by teachers and students. Today, our team has 50 members in seventeen states, and our combined website and Facebook traffic exceeds 150 million hits from all over the world. (Photo: The Mid-Atlantic Team gathers for Forecaster Greg Jackson's senior graduation party in June 2011)

It started in a 10th grade Earth Science classroom in the Baltimore County Public Schools of Central Maryland. The students and science teacher Mr. Foot, after several wildly successful predictions of snowstorms in the 2002-03 season, decided to  publish their forecasts on the internet for use by friends and colleagues at Dundalk High School.  That idea gave rise to "Foot's Forecast" in 2003-04, which was published first via handouts for the President's Weekend Blizzard of February 2003, and Hurricane Isabel in September 2003. The site went live on January 26, 2004

By 2005, visitors to the site were coming from well beyond Baltimore County. In Fall 2009, the team began including students from other Maryland school systems, then colleges, then high school students in other states. A famous front page article in the December 19, 2009 Baltimore Sun by Science Writer Frank Roylance and additional articles in Maryland's Dundalk Eagle by Reporter Bill Gates changed everything. Since then, the site grew from a few hundred visits a day to 1 million just in January 2011. Our facebook page readership reaches over 50,000 daily readers and has garnered 130 million+ hits in a year. The story is still being written, and we're still accepting new writers for the next chapter. 

Our forecasting has been there...through 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 to the "Beyond Epic" Blizzard of December 2009 and the Snowmageddon Blizzards (Feb 4-5) and (Feb 9-10) of present day.
(Photo: Lead Forecasters Connor and Mike leading a hurricane simulation exercise at the Baltimore County Emergency Operations Center, June 2011)

look back to our Storm Grade Data from the February 5-6, 2010 event. 

As of November 1, 2011, our team has grown to  50 members, earning regional and national media attention, and we directly partner with the NOAA Weather Camp program. 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:

Details on how to apply to our team are found on this application page(Photo L to R- Two of our newest members: Forecaster Ross H. of the Cape Fear Zone in North Carolina, and Forecaster Megan M. of the Northern Virginia ZoneBoth are graduates of the Summer 2011 NOAA-funded Weather Camp program at Howard University.)

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