Weather Underground (weather service)

Weather Underground is a commercial weather service providing real-time weather information via the Internet. Weather Underground provides weather reports for most major cities across the world on its website, as well as local weather reports for newspapers and websites. Its information comes from the National Weather Service (NWS), and over 250,000 personal weather stations (PWS). The website is available in many languages, and customers can access an ad-free version of the site with additional features for an annual fee. Weather Underground is owned by The Weather Company, a subsidiary of IBM.[3]

The Weather Underground, Inc.
Subsidiary
Founded1995
FounderJeff Masters
Headquarters,
ParentThe Weather Company[2]
Websitewww.wunderground.com

History

The company is based in San Francisco, California and was founded in 1995 as an offshoot of the University of Michigan's Internet weather database. The name is a reference to the 1960s militant radical student group the Weather Underground, which also originated at the University of Michigan.[4]

Jeff Masters, a doctoral candidate in meteorology at the University of Michigan working under the direction of Professor Perry Samson, wrote a menu-based Telnet interface in 1991 that displayed real-time weather information around the world. In 1993, they recruited Alan Steremberg and initiated a project to bring Internet weather into K-12 classrooms. WU's president Alan Steremberg wrote "Blue Skies" for the project, a graphical Mac gopher client, which won several awards. When the Mosaic Web browser appeared, this provided a natural transition from "Blue Skies" to the Web.

Weatherunderground logo
The original logo, used from 1997 through 2014

In 1995 Weather Underground, Inc. became a commercial entity separate from the university.[5] It has grown to provide weather for print sources, in addition to its online presence. In 2005, Weather Underground became the weather provider for the Associated Press; WU also provides weather reports for some newspapers (including the San Francisco Chronicle) and the Google search engine. Alan Steremberg, Weather Underground's president, also worked on the early development of Google's search engine with Larry Page and Sergey Brin.[6]

In October 2008, Jeff Masters reported that the site was #2 in Internet Weather for 2008.[7]

In February 2010, Weather Underground launched FullScreenWeather.com, a full screen weather Web tool with integrated mapping and mobile device use in mind.

On July 2, 2012, The Weather Channel announced that it would acquire Weather Underground, which would become operated as part of The Weather Channel Companies, LLC, which was later renamed "The Weather Company". The Weather Underground website continues to operate as a separate entity from The Weather Channel's primary site, weather.com, with its existing staff retained. Third-party web analytics providers Alexa and SimilarWeb rate the site as the 117th and 98th most visited website in the United States respectively, as of July 2015.[8][9] SimilarWeb rates the site as the second most visited weather website globally, attracting more than 47 million visitors per month.[9][10] The Weather Company also uses the site's San Francisco headquarters as a regional office.[11][12]

The website's popularity also helped launch a TV show hosted by meteorologist Mike Bettes, which airs on The Weather Channel from 5 to 8 pm ET (except during storm coverage; in which case the show is extended to 9 pm or 10 pm).

On October 28, 2015, Jeff Masters noted that IBM had officially announced an agreement to acquire The Weather Company’s business-to-business, mobile and cloud-based web properties, including Weather Underground, WSI, weather.com, and also the Weather Company brand. Meanwhile, the television service (The Weather Channel) remains a separate entity, later sold to Entertainment Studios in 2018.[13] The deal was finalized on January 29, 2016.[2]

Blogs

Web logs (blogs) are one of the main features in Weather Underground, allowing users of the site to create blogs about weather, everyday life and anything else. Jeff Masters started the first blog on April 14, 2005,[14] and he now posts blog entries nearly every day. Richard B. Rood has been writing blogs on climate change and societal response since 2007, with new entries on a weekly basis.

On October 14, 2016, the Wunderblog announced that it would be changing their name to Category 6, a name which was suggested by Jeff Masters. They decided on the name because it "alludes to our deep fascination with all types of weather and climate extremes, including the many important facets of our changing climate", and "will provide all the insight and expert analysis needed to put the extreme events of our evolving 21st-century climate into context."[15]

On April 3, 2017 Weather Underground ended all Member blogs, WUMail, SMS alerts, NOAA Weather Radio rebroadcast and Aviation.[16] As part of this transition, Category 6 will get a new look. All posts by Jeff Masters, Bob Henson and WU featured bloggers will move to Category 6. Users can no longer contact each other or have blogs.

Products

Weather Underground also uses observations from members with automated personal weather stations (PWS).[17] Weather Underground currently uses observations from over 250,000 personal weather stations worldwide.[18]

The Weather Underground's WunderMap overlays weather data from personal weather stations and official NWS stations on a Google Map base and provides many interactive and dynamically updated weather and environmental layers.[19] On November 15, 2017, users were notified via email that their worldwide, user-provided weather cameras would cease to be available on December 15, 2017. However, on December 11th, 2017 users received another email from Weather Underground announcing that they were reversing their position and would not be discontinuing the product based on significant user feedback.[20]

The service previously distributed Internet radio feeds of NOAA Weather Radio stations from across the country as provided by users and had a Weather Underground Braille Page.

The Associated Press uses Weather Underground to provide national weather summaries.[21]

Weather Underground has several Google Chrome extensions[22] and applications for iPhone, iPad and Android[23] including FullScreenWeather.com, a redirect to a full screen weather viewer tied into OpenStreetMap. There is also an app developed for Roku devices.[24]

In February 2015, Weather Underground released an iOS app called Storm.[25] This app is universal, and can be used on both iPhone and iPad. Other apps by Weather Underground include WunderStation[26] for iPad and WunderMap[27] for iOS and Android. In 2017, Weather Underground removed support for "Storm," in favor of the "Storm Radar" app released by The Weather Channel Interactive in June 2017.[28]

In March 2017 Weather Underground stopped providing Doppler Radar Detected Storms on their NEXRAD page and has listed the long-standing statement "There are no Doppler radar detected storms for (any area) at this time." Also, when checking the lightning box, there was never any lightning depicted on the radar screen, even when lightning was obviously present. When contacted, IT customer service responded by saying it would be back soon, the company was now focusing on a smart phone app, and that app gives the same Doppler Radar Detected Storms information (not yet found on the app as of 5/19/18), and there was no mention of the lightning data issue. The Doppler Radar Detected Storms information was presented in a very useful format, as each storm was given an identifier that could be looked up by scrolling down to a grid giving details of each storm, i.e.: speed, direction of travel, intensity, hail potential, buildup tops, lateral size, etc. Many service users, including Emergency Weather Management Units, felt this was one of the most important features of Weather Underground, as it could be used as an early warning system alert to help people in the path of inclement weather stay out of harm's way, and potentially minimize property damage. The last year or so Weather Underground seems to have slowly lost functionality and download speed; some say the service has become an afterthought since being purchased by The Weather Channel / IBM. Most loyal users and customers contacted for this report are hoping for a major format upgrade for PCs and laptops, to the previous format, and an increase in download speed.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Weather Underground Bombings". fbi.gov. Federal Beureau Of Investigation. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b "IBM Finalizes Deal for Weather Channel Product and Tech Business". The Wrap. January 29, 2016.
  3. ^ Masters, Jeff (28 October 2015). "Weather Underground Bought by IBM". Weather Underground. SBM. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  4. ^ Schwartz, John; Stelter, Brian (July 3, 2012). "Fans Howl After Weather Site Buys Out Rival". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Weather Underground, Inc. The First Internet Weather Service. Retrieved on 2008-04-05.
  6. ^ https://www.stevenlevy.com/index.php/07/03/notes-from-weather-underground-a-paleo-google-enterprise-gets-bought
  7. ^ Jeff Master's WunderBlog, 10-27-2008 Heavy Internet Weather Retrieved on 2008-10-27.
  8. ^ "wunderground.com Site Overview". Alexa. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Wunderground.com Analytics". SimilarWeb. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  10. ^ "Top 50 sites in the world for News And Media > Weather". SimilarWeb. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  11. ^ Weather Channel buys Weather Underground, brand stays. PaidContent.org. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
  12. ^ Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog: Wunderground.com sold to The Weather Channel Companies, Weather Underground, July 2, 2012.
  13. ^ "Weather Underground Bought by IBM, by Dr. Jeff Masters, October 28, 2015".
  14. ^ Weather Underground, Inc. Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog. Retrieved on 2008-04-05.
  15. ^ "Our New Name: Category 6™". Weather Underground. October 14, 2016. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
  16. ^ "WU feature and product updates". March 2, 2017.
  17. ^ Weather Underground, Inc. Personal Weather Station. Retrieved on 2008-04-05.
  18. ^ Weather Underground, Inc. Personal Weather Station Network. Retrieved on 2017-02-20
  19. ^ Weather Underground, Inc. WunderMap Retrieved on 2015-02-01.
  20. ^ "Wunderground.com". Retrieved 2017-12-07.
  21. ^ WEATHER UNDERGROUND For The Associated Press. Weather Search Retrieved on 2009-10-28.
  22. ^ "Weather Underground - Chrome Web Store". Chrome.google.com. Retrieved 2015-05-14.
  23. ^ "Weather Underground - Android Apps on Google Play". Play.google.com. Retrieved 2015-05-14.
  24. ^ "Weather Underground for Roku". Wunderground.com. Retrieved 2015-05-14.
  25. ^ "Storm by Weather Underground | Weather Underground". Wunderground.com. Retrieved 2015-05-14.
  26. ^ "WunderStation by Weather Underground | Weather Underground". Wunderground.com. Retrieved 2015-05-14.
  27. ^ "WunderMap® by Weather Underground". Wunderground.com. Retrieved 2015-05-14.
  28. ^ "Storm Radar FAQ". Wunderground.com. Retrieved 2017-11-18.

External links

Ambient Weather

Ambient Weather is an Arizona based weather station and software manufacturer that specializes in customized solutions and products for the home and office, industry, schools, resorts, government and the media.

Ambient Weather's exceptional growth has landed the company on the Inc. Magazine's Top 500/5000 list Honor Roll of fastest growing private companies for five consecutive years (2004 - 2008) and helped build the network of personal weather stations with Weather Underground (weather service).

Ambient Weather was named one of the 500 largest Internet Retailers ranked by annual sales in the United States according to Internet Retailer magazine back in 2007.Ambient Weather's flagship product Virtual Weather Station is a software package for connecting personal computers to weather stations and the Internet, which displays, plots and stores data for monitoring and analysis.

Ambient Weather launched a weather station cloud service in 2017. AmbientWeather.net provides live data monitoring, graphs and historical data, email and text alerts, and API, IFTTT, Amazon Alexa and Google Home integration.

PressureNET

PressureNET was a crowd-sourced reporting network for barometric pressure data.

It worked by having many users install it on cell phones having air pressure sensors (barometers) and GPS sensors. Once the location was known from the GPS data, it was able to send messages back to the server with the air pressure for that location on earth. With enough users running the application it was possible to create useful, global pressure data. It used open source software running on Android phones, to collect data from locations around the world. The data was available on a public website.With the announcement in September 2014 that the first apple device with a barometer (iPhone 6) was to be released, work started on an edition of the app for that platform The Sunshine app beta testing began to get some publicity in 2015. The Android App website still exists, and the app source code is still available on github;

however, as of January 2016 there is no support for the Android app, and the iOS app is not free open source software as the PressureNet app was.

PressureNet was acquired by Sunshine in early 2016.

Richard B. Rood

Richard B. (Ricky) Rood is a professor of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering (f/k/a Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Prior to 2005, he held several leadership positions at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He has more than 100 academic publications.

Verona, New Jersey

Verona is a township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 13,332 reflecting a decline of 201 (-1.5%) from the 13,533 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 64 (-0.5%) from the 13,597 counted in the 1990 Census.In 2008, New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Verona #1 in Essex County and #3 in New Jersey as "Top Places to Live in New Jersey".

WUHU (software)

WUHU is a free software package for Microsoft Windows which allows users with Personal Weather Stations to contribute weather data to one of several networks, including:

Weather Underground (weather service) (wunderground.com)

Citizen Weather Observer Program (also known as CWOP)

WeatherBug

YoWindow

Australian Weather Network

UK Weather NetWUHU stands for Weather Underground / HeavyWeather Uploader. It can collect data from multiple models of weather stations from La Crosse Technology, Davis Instruments, and Oregon Scientific.

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