Weather NJ loves you too!
A Big Thank You!
Well, it has been just over a year since the launch of WeatherNJ.com so WARNING, it’s about to get a bit mushy 8) I’d like to personally thank you all for making it the largest independent weather reporting agency in New Jersey and surrounding states! None of this would exist without you and I just want to reflect how large this thing of ours has become with you. Some of you have been with me since the early 2010 blizzards when I had double-digit followers. Others have personally met me through various local charity efforts, storm chasing and/or just out in the general public. Most of you have joined up over the years through multiple winter events, thunderstorm outbreaks, nor’easters and tropical activity. Regardless of the reason you follow Weather NJ, I am truly grateful and I cannot state enough that Weather NJ loves you too!
A Reminder Who’s Behind the Curtain
My name is Jonathan Carr. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and information systems from Stockton University. My primary career is in software development and systems engineering. I have no formal education in meteorology and I wear that proudly on my sleeve. My entire atmospheric knowledge-base is self-taught and under the wing of some good friends who are professional meteorologists (EPAWA shout out)! I learn more and more every day, from both success and failure, and plan to acquire formal education in meteorology sooner than later.
I started Severe NJ Weather in February of 2010 simply to inform the public, through actionable discussion, of major storm systems that were out of local forecast reach. Weather safety information/aggregation was my primary intended function. I was able to alert the public well in-advance about the 2010-2011 blizzards, Hurricane Irene, the Halloween Snow Storm of 2011, the 2012 Derecho, the 2012 Freehold Microburst, Superstorm Sandy, the Polar Vortex influence of 2013/2014, and many other smaller-impact storm systems to date.
In 2014 I re-branded as Weather NJ with a centralized web presence. I was voted 2014 Citizen Journalist of the Year by the Citizen’s Campaign. I’m followed by the NJ governor, NJ senators, state and national congressmen, multiple OEM/EMS/law enforcement organizations, NWS personnel, over 60 professional network meteorologists and professional reporters in the New York/Philadelphia metropolitan areas, and a handful of celebrities. Clarissa (Melissa Joan Hart) can explain it all but when it comes to weather, she listens to me 8) Although this feels amazing now, I expect to continue solid growth and expansion as well as keeping Weather NJ New Jersey’s #1 trusted weather site. I cannot do this without you so thank you!
Traffic Statistics of Web Site
Followers of Weather NJ should be proud of their geographic reach across the global internet. The WeatherNJ.com website has been visited almost 6 million times now since launch last July from over 170 countries around the world—from all 7 of 7 continents (due to international airport travel-related weather interests – PHL/EWR/JFK/LGA). These statistics are all verified by Google Analytics and I’d be happy to share reports with any interested parties.
Traffic Statistics of Social Media
My collective social media following of 218k+ (200k facebook/13.6k Twitter/4k Instagram/600 Periscope) is 100% organic of which I am VERY proud of! It literally grows daily. It has been calculated that 1 out of 4 NJ residents on social media have seen either a Severe NJ Weather (pre-July 2014) or Weather NJ (post July 2014) post in their lives. During Sandy, 3.9% of the US population was uniquely reached, most from the I-95 corridor that spans from DC to Boston.
Occasionally I get feedback on social media such as “You literally saved my life by telling me to go in the basement before a tree crushed our house.” Other times, like during Sandy, I’ve gotten “I don’t know what to do, I was trying to rescue my friends but the ocean broke through and met the bay. I had to leave my friends screaming for help before evacuating. Please HELP!” Every other message you can think of, including marriage proposals, has made its way into my inbox. With that said, there have been some rough emotional times as well as times that made it all worth it. For this, Weather NJ is grateful in placing your trust in us. I love interacting with all of you every day and practically consider you family!
Working with Traditional Media
Weather NJ has been featured in several articles including IEEE journals, the Trentonian, NewsWorks, The Star Ledger, The Sandpaper and several local magazines. I’m happy to report that I was recently hired by the Press of Atlantic City to fill in for Dan Skeldon from time to time. They will be posting about it tomorrow which I’ll share. Thanks to you all, you’ve helped a weather enthusiast leverage social media to accomplish this goal. In the meantime, Weather NJ is happy and proud to shake the hand of any other traditional media organizations that choose to reach out!
Working with the National Weather Service
Weather NJ loves our unofficial and friendly relationship with the NWS on social media and continuously shares relevant content, especially advisories, alerts, watches and warnings that impact the general safety of the public. We also tag the NWS on live-observation social media posts which gives the NWS visibility to hundreds, even thousands of live conditions during peak storm-time. While we understand that these reports do not constitute official observations made by trained spotters or official NWS personnel, we hope they paint a general picture of what’s going on and possibly what to officially pursue. We are proud to offer our unparalleled trust and reach to help extend such aggregation and we thank them for the great service they provide.
The Future of Weather NJ
Weather NJ is not going anywhere. Steady growth is anticipated and I look forward to working with all of you in the future. One of my next steps is to acquire a certification in meteorology/forecasting from Penn State University. I know a certification is far from a bachelor’s degree but it will be a step-forward and great learning experience which will ultimately benefit you. After that between my computer science degree and 12 credits earned from the certification, I won’t be top far away from a bachelor’s degree. We’ll see! I also aim to expand our multimedia content into more videos and other robust interactive content that I’m currently working on as a software developer. Many exciting things in store!
Maybe this image and song is a reference to Ghostbusters II. Maybe it’s a hint of the future. Maybe it’s both. Regardless, thank you for your overwhelming support over the years and as always, be safe! ♥ JC