September 2020 Newsletter
By Justin Poublon
September 1, 2020 - 9:46 AM CST | 89 0
Happy Meteorological Fall!
It's been awhile since we've had a newsletter! Recently there have been numerous small changes across the website. Nothing major. I'm mainly watching for bugs/technical issues while looking into new things to try. It's the quiet time of a quiet year. The world is really crazy so I'm sure you've got enough on your mind. Here's a look inside my world.
Weather continues to be historically slow & unpredictable. Unless you live in NW Wisconsin. Personally I've chased the same amount as 2019 even though I'm doing it full time in 2020 (and with less success). The cards have not been in my favor. Setups marginal at best. It's one of those years where everything I target falls apart. Intervals between chases are ~15 days and that's very hard for me. Compare that with 2017 with 3 days between chases tells you that mother nature controls the opportunities. I can't manifest these things simply because it's my job.
The thought of chasing in northern Illinois (WI/IL border) AGAIN makes me feel ill. I'd rather not. This contributed to missing the Aug 10, 2020 derecho in Iowa. I should have known better than getting trapped in the Beloit flood. That was the storm event of the year. The crazy thing was that even 24 hours prior nobody saw it coming.
Financially this won't work long term at the current rate. We have 41 paying members and I'm always thankful for all of you! You allow me to pursue my passion and it's truly a special gift! I do expect memberships to increase heading into winter. However to make this work as initially planned I would need to scale memberships by a factor of 10 (41 to 400)! Even if I double from 41 to 82, it would certainly help but probably still not enough. Big challenge. Long term challenge. If current trends continue I will need find something else part time. I haven't decided on my next move and carrying on like I've been. I wouldn't make any major change until after the presidential election.
My work schedule has been gutted. I spend most of my time watching the kids (because of my flexibility) now while my wife goes to work. Call me Mr. Mom. This is not what I had planned when I quit my job but it works out great for my wife and kids. My work hours initially were 7A-4:30P(~9hrs). Since COVID, I'm now down to 9:30A - 2:30P(~5hr)...often less than that. Schedule is somewhat unpredictable. COVID caused the wife to close the in-home daycare and take on more hours/responsibility at the bar. In some ways this all works out alright for the family. We get to see each other all the time. It comes with a cost, money is a priority.
I love my kids and happy to be around them so much but babysitting is stressful for someone who would rather be in a tornado warning. Feel like a fish trying to climb a tree. The kids are constant. I'm not able to efficiently release stress. I've had a couple mental breakdowns in recent weeks. I've taken a break from Facebook where I seem to have lost my voice (can't find the words). If I needed a break from wisconsinwx.com, I would put the website on auto-pilot and decrease the membership cost only to cover the costs of operating. This is only a possibility right now, nothing else.
NEXT STEPS FOR WISCONSINWX.COM
I'm satisfied with the current structure of the website. I want to see it work in an active winter pattern. See how well I keep up with that. There are always things that can be changed or added so the work will continue as needed.
I have resumed the historical storm events database project that I benched back in spring. There are source data hygiene problems (NCDC & SPC). One of the datasets hasn't been updated since 2018. I have to merge datasets and it's just a massive project to be confident in the end result. It would be such a glorious thing to have.
I guess when weather is slow you still have history to reflect upon. Thats why I'm considering a new YouTube video series on Wisconsin worst storm events - leveraging the data set mentioned above. Sounds like a great idea if I can just find the energy to do it.
I've mentioned that I will add more cities/locations; especially in Upper Michigan. I may develop a tool to let you add custom locations too. This project will happen later in fall.
The code back-end on post page (the page you're on right now) needs to be redone. The option to edit on member posts/comments is missing. The code is spaghetti. It happens when you layer new things on top of old. If I change one thing it breaks another. This is an important page because it's high traffic - all roads end here. The effort and importance is high so will give this extra time.
Beyond that the way forward is INNOVATION. I have some ideas but need more. I don't wish to force it. Prefer it comes naturally.
As always, thank you for your continued support and viewership! I believe things will work out as god intended. I will continue to fight.