October 11, 2019. It is with great sadness that I announce I will no longer be writing the nightly weather forecast blog for the website, UpstateSnow.com, and associated Facebook page.
It's not known yet whether or not I will indeed be full time at the Charter School, we're still on a trial with this "Interventions/Resources" position ... but, assuming it will become permanent, this position will dominate my days (and evenings with lesson prep), and I'm afraid of spreading myself too thin. I will need to dedicate myself into that. It will also require that I attend classes to get a teaching certification.
The blogs I wrote for Upstate were lengthy, detailed, and graphics-intensive; I was spending between 1 and 3 hours PER NIGHT, 7 nights per week, writing those blogs. Given the commitment that will be required to the Charter School, I will no longer have that time available to dedicate to Upstate Snow. It would be a great disservice for the thousands of people who visit that site every day, and the Facebook reach of over 10,000 people, if I can't dedicate my full self toward doing that forecasting.
I took over as lead forecaster during the 2014-15 season, and have been writing the blogs each winter season since then, my last blog having been posted on March 25, 2019 -- click HERE to read. The forecasts were written by me, the graphics created by me. I would occasionally collaborate with my dear friend and mentor, Mr. Rich Lupia (who created the site quite a few years ago), with some of the forecasting during particularly intense or unusual weather situations such as some of the more prolific lake effect storms and Nor'easters that have impacted upstate New York. I have taken great pride in my ability to "get it right." In general, I did not consult National Weather Service resources or any other media outlet prior to writing my forecasts. The only exception to that would be during particularly dangerous or intense storm events.
So why was a dude who lives in North Carolina writing a weather blog for a snowmobile site in upstate New York? The vast majority of people who know me know that I lived the first 30+ years of my life in Otsego County, New York. I grew up in Cooperstown, then lived in Hartwick and in Laurens prior to relocating to Whiteville around New Years 2006. I am very familiar with the "lay of the land" of central New York. I am very familiar with lake effect snow in NY, the Tug Hill lake effect events, Nor'easters, and the oftentimes complicated weather patterns and conditions that can impact the state. Rich Lupia is my meteorology mentor; he helped cultivate my love of weather dating back into the 1990s and his days at WKTV. He allowed me the opportunity to be a Skywatcher from Cooperstown and then Laurens. We lost touch for quite a few years after I moved to NC, but thanks to Facebook, we were able to get connected once again. He knew I was working on a degree in Meteorology after chasing a few tornadoes, and to that end allowed me an opportunity to occasionally "anonymously" forecast for Upstate Snow. He would carefully QC the reports (again, this is HIS website and his reputation to protect), and I was able to use this as a wonderful learning tool (I had to take a "Winter Weather Forecasting" course through Mississippi State, I'm proud to say that was one of the easiest "A" grades I ever received).
As noted, he turned the reigns over to me. I continued to forecast "behind the scenes" - the byline listed was simply "Upstate Snow." I have covered incredible lake effect snowstorms (painting colors for 24"+ on consecutive nights); I covered the multiple consecutive Nor'easters that struck in March 2018. I've covered ice storms and tremendous rain events where nearly 100 inches of snowcover disappeared in a matter of a few days, resulting in ice jams and flooding. I've covered blockbuster seasons and anemic seasons.
It was a labor of love. While I live in a place where it's generally in the 60s through December into January, 50s through January into February, I would get kind of a kick out of forecasting temperatures 20 to 30 degrees below zero, wind chills to 50 below zero, and "a bullseye of 2+ feet of new accumulation on the Tug." In a way I miss seeing the tremendous amount of snow (though I don't miss driving in it!). I've been living vicariously through the snowmobile riders and weather spotters submitting reports and photos, watching the trail cams. There was also a personal pride when I would take a look at snow totals after various events and seeing that, hey, I got this right, or pretty doggone close. I admit that there were some blown calls as well, I'm far from perfect. Instances when NWS got it spot on, and I wasn't even close. There were also times when I would have an Emmy-award-winning busted forecast... but so would NWS and other upstate NY media outlets.
There were times when I honestly did not look forward to writing these blogs. Not that I disliked the content, but I was exhausted, had a bunch of other things to do, church activities, had supper to cook (I'm a single parent), etc., etc. But the blogs got done, every night, as scheduled. Sometimes they ran a little late, but they got done. I think the hardest season for me was 2016-2017 as my wife had just unexpectedly passed away, we were still recovering from Hurricane Matthew, and I had just relocated. It was exceedingly difficult to focus and concentrate on anything.
But pages turn in life, and this page has turned. After not being successful at finding a full-time career in meteorology, I've been looking into teaching. For several years I assisted as a coach in Science Olympiad at my son's elementary school. It was suggested I would make a good teacher some day, so I continued to give it thought, when a position at the Charter School opened. It has been kind of a rough go here at the start, as I try to find my own footing (coupled with some flux in personnel and positions at the Charter School), but I intend to push hard on this or die trying. I'm simply not going to be able to give Upstate Snow the time it deserves, and I turn the reigns back over to Rich Lupia. We've come full circle, and it's bittersweet. When Rich asked me for my PowerPoint slides, clicking "send" was my closing the door. It sucks, it hurts, but it's necessary.
I had a vague feeling at the time I clicked "submit" on my blog from March 25, 2019, that not only was it the final one for the season, but that it might be my final post. It was just a funny feeling I had.
To Rich, my dear friend and mentor, "thank you" seems woefully inadequate. My words absolutely cannot express the true gratitude I have for allowing me the opportunity to serve. Thank you for your patience with me as I learned my craft, as I learned how to forecast "live" and "for real." Thank you for giving me invaluable forecasting experience. Thank you for allowing me to have a small part in the growth of the site and the FB page ... as of today (10/11/2019) a total count of 10,561 likes. Simply... thank you.
I would also be remiss in not thanking Dave Gleasman for his support, as he took over ownership of the website the past two winter seasons. Thank you, Dave, for keeping me on board.
Here is a small sampling of the graphics I produced over the past couple of years.