Posted by Weatherflow ● April, 2023
Tempest News | April 2023
Let’s talk about the weather with Chris Johnson and Nate Fincher, founders of the Weather Champs app! Learn more about how the two came up with the idea for a new kind of weather app that adds games and competitive human predictions to the forecast mix and how you can get in on the action!
Q: WHERE DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR WEATHER CHAMPS?
Nate: My wife loves tracking storms. We were having a glass of wine one night, and I couldn't get her to pay attention to me because she was tracking a hurricane brewing off the East Coast. She was looking at storm trackers, forecasts, and social media posts, seeing what everybody thought would happen with the storm’s intensity and trajectory. That made me wish there was an app or a game where she could compare her predictions with others to see how they stacked up. For example, maybe everyone who entered a prediction could donate $1, and whoever was the closest would win a prize while the money was donated to disaster relief for affected areas. I floated the idea to Chris since we’ve been friends since elementary school and always thought it would be fun to get into business together. We had bounced many business ideas back and forth over the years, but we both got really excited about this one.
Q: DID EITHER OF YOU HAVE A BACKGROUND IN WEATHER BEFORE COMING UP WITH THE IDEA?
Chris: Besides my wife being named Stormie, I have no background in anything to do with the weather. I spent the last 12 years of my career in medical device manufacturing sales, and Nate’s background is in high school business education so this is a new venture for both of us. But just like when a friend introduces you to a new band, and they quickly become your favorite, we’ve been fascinated with the beauty and power of the weather ever since we dove into developing this app.
It was 2020 when we started to discuss Weather Champs, and that was a few months into the pandemic. At that point, we didn't even know if we were going to have live sports events in the fall, but then we found out we were going to have a football season. And while I’m not a big season-long fantasy football buff, I play weekly and daily fantasy with friends. So it occurred to me that just like fantasy sports, the weather has outcomes that people try to predict. That’s when we realized that Weather Champs could follow a fantasy football model for weather forecasting games, and people could make competing predictions with friends and strangers while tracking their own overall forecast accuracy.
Q: ONCE YOU HAD AN IDEA THAT HAD LEGS, WHAT CAME NEXT?
Chris: We started to do some market research in 2021 and found that there's no application out there that has a component where people can make their own weather predictions and compete with other armchair meteorologists. That's unique. So then, the first thing we did was a quantitative market analysis to survey 1000 daily fantasy sports players. We were blown away when we learned that 880 people out of the 1000 surveyed said that they really would like a chance to essentially play the weather. So the demand is there.
We did a round of friends and family funding, which raised $100,000 to put together the MVP of the app. And since then, we’ve been building the app. We initially set out to be something unique that allows people to participate in the weather, but we quickly learned that the weather enthusiast community leverages a lot of weather apps. These folks aren’t just checking one app and then making predictions about the weather; they're using multiple weather apps. That prompted us to think about how Weather Champs could also be a repository or a single source for all of those data points, which our users could utilize to help with their prediction models on their own. Right now, we’re just doing that for standard weather parameters, like high temperature, low temperature, highest humidity, and highest wind speed for the next day in any particular city in the world.
Q: BEYOND YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY FUNDING, ARE YOU GOING TO BE DOING ANY CROWDFUNDING?
Nate: Yes! We explored launching a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign, but their rules don’t allow funding campaigns that involve contests, so we recently launched our own version of a crowdfunding campaign on our website, which allows supporters to become an official Producer of the app. People who support what we’re doing and want to see it brought to life can pledge anywhere from $20 to $2,500 and receive a variety of tangible and intangible rewards, including a few Tempest products, for their financial support.
Q: WHEN CAN WE FIND WEATHER CHAMPS IN THE APP STORE?
Nate: Our hope is to commercialize both iOS and Android versions by the end of Q2. We’re currently in iOS beta trials to test our gaming logic, and once we get traction and build our user community further, we'll continue to iterate on the application. We have many more styles of weather games in our production pipeline, but one of the features we’re most excited about releasing later this year is the integration of Tempest API’s directly into Weather Champs! That means Tempest owners will be able to use their station and the Tempest network to help them make more accurate predictions. The leadership at Tempest has been very supportive through our development since we first shared our idea, and we can’t wait to give people another fun way to use their Tempest.
Q: CAN PEOPLE SIGN UP TO BE IN THAT iOS BETA PROGRAM?
Chris: Definitely. Right through the Weather Champs website, anyone can register. Once you register, you’ll get instructions sent by email for installing the app!
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TORNADOES STRIKE US FROM ARKANSAS TO DELAWARE
A swath of severe storms and tornadoes, killing at least 32 people & leaving dozens injured, tore through large portions of the South, Midwest, and Northeast over the past weekend. Tornadoes were suspected or confirmed in 11 states, destroying homes and businesses, uprooting and splintering trees, and damaging neighborhoods, leaving them covered in debris or even reduced to rubble.
HERE'S WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE AND TORNADOES
While climbing global temperatures and extreme weather can be linked more obviously in cases like scorching heat waves or more severe hurricanes, the connection between rising temperatures and increased tornado activity is less obvious to pinpoint by scientists. Increased tornado activity, both out of season and outside the more commonly seen “tornado alley,” as well as increased severity of tornadoes, could all be connected to the average rising temperatures in the US and around the world, but for the moment, lack of data restricts scientists from pinpointing the influence definitively.
WHY DOES THE US GET SOME OF THE WORST WEATHER IN THE WORLD?
From disastrous tornadoes like what were seen over the weekend to the impending 2023 hurricane season, wildfires, drought, heat waves, the increasing atmospheric rivers in the West, blizzards, and floods…the list of extreme weather that can be experienced somewhere within the United States is one of the most extensive in the world. But why?
EL NIÑO LOOMS OVER THE LATTER HALF OF 2023
As the three-year-long La Niña pattern comes to an end, and the start of El Niño looms in the latter half of 2023, experts wonder what lies ahead in terms of extreme heat, increased intensity of tropical cyclones, and other environmental impacts that could come with the change. Here are a few things to know about the possible weather and climate extremes to look out for as the El Niño pattern picks up later in the year.
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