This is quite likely the most difficult post I've had to write in the last five years of running The Weather Centre, and I can assure you it wasn't easy actually sitting down to hammer it out, either. After all, this has been my livelihood for so long, I can't really remember what occupied the majority of my time before this.
That's why it makes me sad to announce that The Weather Centre blog will close permanently on our five-year anniversary: April 26th, 2015.
When I started The Weather Centre on April 26th, 2010, I wasn't much of a forecaster. At the time, I made the blog solely because I had an interest in weather, and because there happened to be a severe weather event on the way on April 30th of that year. My initial posts, if you dive back to look at them (example here, here, and here), were simply maps with some crude MS Paint drawings on them if even that, describing the upcoming pattern for that late April set-up.
As a matter of fact, I wasn't even much of a person yet. I started The Weather Centre blog when I was 12 years old, just rounding out 7th grade. In case you're wondering, yes, you've been receiving the musings of a teenage aspiring meteorologist for the last five years. I'll get to why I never revealed my age a little later in this post, but I'd like to go back even further.
Many of you who have read this blog likely got an interest in weather from a rather traumatic weather event. For some, it may have been seeing a tornado or hurricane on TV, or perhaps being in a tornado or a hurricane. For me, it was having The Weather Channel on the television for hours on end, starting when I was just about 2 years old. My father has always shared my interest in meteorology, but I took it to a different level, to the point of where we are today. I wanted to keep learning; I wanted to know why it stormed in some areas, and why it didn't storm in others. I wanted to know how tornadoes formed, and how they could turn a new house into splinters of wood in under a minute. I wanted to understand the hurricane, how a massive storm system could drop over a foot of rain on coastal locations, with sustained winds in excess of 100 miles per hour.
So I did keep learning. It just wasn't in 'the conventional way'. You hear teachers in schools these days berating Wikipedia, and using the internet in general to learn. I'm living proof that such an attitude could not be more detrimental to learning. Just about everything I've discussed on this blog, from the Typhoon Rule to the El Nino to the Sudden Stratospheric Warming, I've learned over the internet. As I grew older, yes, I began to buy more meteorological books, print out scholastic journals, etc., but never feel guilty for searching online to find an answer to your math problem or something of the like.
I want to come back to my age. Over the past five years, I've had more than a few people ask me how old I am, or what my credentials are in the forecasting world. To be quite frank, I never answered those questions, because I've grown to learn that it really does not matter. I see degreed meteorologists publicly shaking their heads on Twitter, Facebook, or on other public social media at something a kid just like me may have done. One particular controversy has always been teenagers posting those ECMWF snowfall maps, which has become a pretty real problem for operational forecasters, but I digress. Nothing infuriates me more than when I see those operational forecasters putting down someone online, with no credentials, who just wants to be able to forecast weather like the pros. Why do I get so distraught over that? Take a look at this clip from The Incredibles movie, and you might see what I mean. I should add those forecasters who will publicly shame amateur forecasters are in the minority; the great majority of degreed forecasters show significant respect towards the younger generation that will follow in their footsteps.
"Not every superhero has powers, you know. You can be super without them."
Before I close up shop here, I want to go over the achievements we as a community have accomplished.
- In five years, The Weather Centre has accumulated over 5,650,000 page views. I can safely say I would never have dreamed that so many people would have wanted to read my weather discussions, and it is such an incredible honor to have run such a successful blog.
- The Weather Centre was featured and/or mentioned on the Toronto Star, the New York Times, the Huffington Post, NPR, Yahoo, and countless other meteorological and news entities. Every one of them made me more proud to do what I do.
- We formed a community of over 3,700 Facebook fans, and close to 1,300 Twitter followers. I have found that you all are the best group of weather enthusiasts I have come across on the Internet, and it is an immense privilege to say that. I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to converse with all of you.
- Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we proved that weather can be easy to understand. Over these last five years, I've received dozens of comments from viewers across the world, thanking me for making complicated weather phenomena normally learned in college, easy to understand.
So, for the last time, I want to extend a thank you. I want to thank you, the viewer, reading this right now, for supporting not only this blog, but me for the last five years. Thanks in large part to The Weather Centre, I have grown into a person I never thought I would become, and I'm incredibly excited to see where my life takes me next. I'm leaving not out of selfishness, but because this chapter of my life is naturally coming to a close. In the next several months, I'm going off to college to start my studies to become a degreed meteorologist, my life's dream. In addition, research projects that I began this past winter are quickly showing signs of verification. One of them, forecasting the EF-strength of tornadoes before they form, is looking very promising, and I'll need to devote a significant amount of time to improving my research, my studies, and everything else that makes life worth living. The one thing I ask of you is that you do what I've done. Go out and teach others about the weather; there are so many people that want to understand the weather but find everything too complicated. This blog provides a great resource for you to continue on.
Once again, thank you for these last five years. They've been the best five years I've ever experienced, and I'm incredibly proud to say we've accomplished the goal that's been in place since I first started The Weather Centre: to show others that weather can be easy to understand, to learn, and to share with others.
The last couple of weeks before April 26th will be mainly cleaning up some things, probably issuing some sort of winter prediction for 2015-2016 (it's only fitting, given our preliminary winter forecasts used to be issued in early June), and enjoying the ride. You'll still find me tweeting about the weather even after we close, and perhaps an occasional post on the Facebook page as well; you can follow the Twitter account at https://twitter.com/TheWxCentre, and our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheWeatherCentre