Thursday, May 24, 2012

Late-May News and Updates

Hello Grotonweather Fans! I have been working very hard over the past couple of months on new and exciting things. I thought I would type up a blog to explain and promote some of these things.

First off is Finger Lakes Weather (, my new weather forecasting and consulting business. It is my hope that Finger Lakes Weather will become my career, helping local businesses, organizations, and the public with private and customizable weather forecasts. Finger Lakes Weather offers a variety of "Forecast Packages" tailored specifically towards various groups. For the spring, I offered a frost forecast package and was able to do some free-trial forecasting for Fox Run Vineyards and Three Brothers Vineyards, both on Seneca Lake. I have plans for a forecast package for construction workers. Right now, I am offering a special on vacation forecasting...but more on that later. Check out Finger Lakes Weather (the website again is and join the Finger Lakes Facebook page.

Next up is the Grotonweather Radar Page ( I recently got some top-notch radar software that is used by many meteorologists, especially storm chasers and others interested in thunderstorms. This software allows me to upload the radar to the website, so that is what I have done. Furthermore, I can display things such as areas of possible hail, rotation in thunderstorms, winds, and watches and warnings. I can also zoom right in on a storm down to street-level. So far, this has been a HUGE success with hundred of views despite an overall quiet thunderstorm season thusfar.

A severe thunderstorm approaches Ithaca.
Success does not come without price, however. And in this case, the price is measured in bandwidth. For those not familiar, bandwidth is basically the amount of data transferred to and from a website. The radar page uploads large image files every few minutes and quickly ate up my monthly bandwidth limit. That in turn forced me to purchase a more expensive hosting plan. My costs for running, not including time spent, is now approaching $200 a year.

Since 2006, when I started this operation, I have not received any revenue from my website. I am dedicated to keeping the website free. As costs continue to rise, something has to be done to offset some of these costs. Rather than charge money for Grotonweather and rather than flat out asking for donations, I decided a fund-raiser would be the best idea.

This is where the vacation forecasting package from Finger Lakes Weather ( comes back into play. As a fund-raiser, I am offering this service at a reduced price of just $10 per day or $50 per week. What does that entail? I will forecast for your travels to and from your vacation destination. I will forecast for you each morning of your trip so that you can know what to expect. If you have plans to engage in a certain activity- whether a day at the beach, a horseback ride, a bicycle tour...anything at all- I will forecast specifically for that activity and how the weather might impact your plans.

Furthermore, I will do severe weather forecasting for you. Say you are driving down the highway in Kansas and you see storms ahead. You can give me a call- no matter what time of day or night- and ask me if they are severe. Or, if you are enjoying your vacation (which you should be!), but storms (or a hurricane!) are coming, I will reach out to you and let you know.

I think this is a really neat and unique service and I believe it will help you make the most of your vacation. And it would really help relieve some of the costs I have. So please, consider signing up before June 10th to get the sale price. Even if your vacation is in August or later, book it now. Here is the link again:

Moving on now, I am slowly working on a redesign of I am really excited about how it looks so far. I did a survey a couple of weeks ago on displaying confidence and uncertainty in forecasts. The results were a tremendous help, so thank you to all who participated! I am now doing a smaller follow-up survey on a proposed forecast layout change. Please, if you could take a moment and fill it out, I would be very grateful. Here is the link:

If that was all not enough, I also started a new project on Facebook in an attempt to 1) combine my strong religious beliefs with my love for the weather 2) help those threatened by severe weather on a national level and 3) expand my forecasting beyond just the Finger Lakes. The result is the Storming Heaven Facebook group. If you believe in the power of prayer, go ahead an join up.

Back in late March, the Groton Public Library invited me to give an hour-long presentation. I presented on the Blizzard of 1993. Thank you to the library for the opportunity to speak! If you would like me to speak at your event or in your class (I've spoken at 3 schools since November), just send me an email or let me know on Facebook!

Thank you for reading this long post and for your continued support and interest in and the other projects I am working on. Stay tuned for more great features coming up...I am only getting started!!!

1 comment:

  1. Great post Drew! I hope your new endeavors help to defray some of your costs.
    Have a great day!