Author Topic: Summer 2008 Featured Weather Website is ThorntonWeather.com  (Read 9161 times)

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Offline saratogaWX

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Summer 2008 Featured Weather Website is ThorntonWeather.com
« on: December 12, 2008, 09:36:35 PM »
Congratulations to Tony Hake and the ThorntonWeather.com Weather Station in Thornton, Colorado, for your selection as WXForum.netís Featured Weather Web Site for Summer 2008!  =D>  =D>  =D>

Tony's weather website went live in October, 2006.  His most recent design just went active in November, 2008.

His PWS is a Davis VP2+.  He originally started with an Oregon Scientific WMR968 but he began having troubles retrieving data from the wireless sensors, he suspected it was due to interference from a ham operator in the area (that old station now powers his brother's site at reunionweather.com).  His problems with the OS forced the upgrade to the Davis and he "of course wasn't too heartbroken to upgrade either.  When I did I opted for the VP2+ so I could have all the toys like UV and solar plus get 24 hour aspiration."  With that, there weren't any add-ons to really purchase since it is all inclusive.  He does also have a Boltek PCI lightning detector which he says "is great fun to watch in the severe weather season here on the plains". 

Tony's primary weather station software is Weather Display.  When he first got a weather station, he'd looked around at the variety of weather software available.  He says "while Weather Display is a bit 'rough' in its appearance, I saw that it was actively developed by Brian Hamilton.  What clenched the deal were the user forums at weather-watch.com.  The folks there were so active in helping each other with the program that I felt I would have help should I ever need it."  (ed. note .. Brian has over 50,000 support posts on weather-watch.com .. we strive to be pretty helpful around here too, but can't hold a candle to that number :)  )

His website is developed primarily using the entire Adobe Creative Suite - DreamWeaver, Fireworks, etc.
"DreamWeaver does a great job of putting a pretty face on HTML and PHP coding and makes it easier for someone like me that doesn't have the time or desire to delve too far into the nuts and bolts.  However, it also has plenty there for the power user as well."   

Tony's motivation behind having his site online was originally "just so that I could watch the weather at my house no matter where I was at."  He further explains: "In Denver, the weather can vary greatly from one end of town to the other - blizzard conditions in the south, sunny skies on the north, etc.  Most local media outlets provide conditions at Denver International Airport or downtown Denver which is fine but that isn't where I live and isn't always relevant.  Over time I have grown to view it as providing a public service to those in my community." 

"When I first started, like many, I took inspiration from the Carter Lake templates and that is what I began with, albeit with some minor tweaks to make the design a bit unique.  Then Ken True released the AJAX enhancements which I quickly incorporated.  Once the AJAX / PHP templates came out, I knew I wanted to take my site to the next step and create a style that was truly my own while taking advantage of the "include" format of Ken's templates and the more efficient data uploading features.  I also wanted to closely integrate my blog / news pages as those have become an extremely popular feature, probably accounting for 50% of the traffic to my site."

Future plans for the site include "Nothing - I am taking a break!  Haha!  In all seriousness, I hope to continue to see what other sorts of publicly available data is out there, primarily from the National Weather Service, and add those to my site.  In recent weeks I have added things like a road conditions report and current state wide conditions that the NWS office in my area provides.  With winter here, I am finding the road conditions report is very popular.  One other thing in the near future I hope to add is ski conditions.  Obviously that is very popular here and I think visitors would like to see that." 

Tony does selectively provide his data to a few different aggregation sites, for various reasons.  In the case of Weather Underground and Weather for You, he does it as a way to build traffic and point folks to his own site.  For CWOP, he thinks it is more to provide a public service to those that use the data like the NWS and NOAA and allow them to see and analyze conditions in other areas than where they may have a monitoring station. 

His interest in weather began in 6th grade at Hillcrest Elementary in Northglenn, Colorado (a suburb of Denver) on June 3, 1981.  While sitting at his desk, the principal came over the intercom and announced that all students needed to get under their desks.  "I remember looking outside at that moment and seeing that it is dark as night - at least it seemed to be to a scared 12 year old!  Not long after, a tornado touched down a few miles to the east destroying 25 homes and injuring 53 people.  I think that was probably the moment I thought this weather stuff is pretty cool!"

Tony finds his most rewarding experience in providing local weather conditions is "the knowledge that I am truly providing a public service to residents in this suburb of Denver.  As word has gotten out about my site through word of mouth, articles in area papers, etc. the traffic has continued to grow.  I am pretty active in the community and I will have someone come to me and say, 'Hey, you're the Thornton weather guy!  I use your site all the time.'  Many tell me how useful they find it to be able to get forecasts and conditions for where we live, not from some station 20 miles away.  That is pretty cool stuff."

His advice to someone wanting to get started in weather watching as a hobby is "Don't be afraid to ask questions.  I have found that the Personal Weather Station community is an extraordinarily friendly bunch of people are always willing to help - take advantage of it.  Use resources like wxforum.net and weather-watch.com.  In regards to weather stations, don't believe what some may tell you that you have to spend big bucks on a weather station.  That little Oregon Scientific I started with was a great station and I might still have it if it wasn't for the aforementioned radio interference issues.  That same unit is still in service with my brother and his website and is a great unit. I think sometimes we (the online PWS community) scare away folks from the hobby by trying to tell them they need to spend $500+ just to get started when that isn't the case."

Tony's advice to those wanting to either start a new weather web site or improve the one they already have is to "take advantage of what is out there.  PWS owners always are willing to share what they develop and using the free stuff that has already been created, you can create an incredibly useful weather website.  Also as mentioned already, actively take part in the online weather communities.  They are a great resource."

Tony is 40 years old, and an IT manager by trade.  He has a wonderful wife of 16 years who is a public school teacher.  Their two children, Bobby and Anika are 8 and 6 years old respectively.  Summer is the time of year that he really lives for as the family are active boaters and RV'ers and spend the summer months "traveling across this great nation." 

Beyond weather, his other passion is woodworking.  This is something that runs in the family as his grandfather, father, uncles and brothers are all woodworkers.  He creates everything from little knick-knacks to large pieces of custom designed furniture.  The family room in his house is the "showcase" room for "Tony's Timbers" - every piece of furniture with the exception of the couch has been handcrafted by him.  Chairs, tables, ottoman's, an entertainment center, bookshelf, and even the lamps and stereo speaker stands. 

Tony says "I think I would be negligent to not say thank you to the PWS community for all of the ideas, scripts, help and more that they provide so openly and freely.  Without them, my website would not be 1/10th of what it is today." 

"Lastly, I would encourage weather station owners to actively 'market' their sites if they would like their traffic to grow.  We provide a truly valuable public service and if people know it is there, they will take advantage of it.  Here in a metropolitan area of over 2 million people and in a suburb with over 100,000 people, people have lots of choices of where to get their weather from but I have found they love the truly local aspect of it.  Just last month my site had over 11,000 visitors and it is nice to know that so many folks find the information useful."

Tony also hosts and administers the Rocky Mountain Weather Network with 35 reporting stations in WY, CO and NM.

Congratulations, Tony and the ThorntonWeather.com Weather Station, for being selected by your peers as WXForum.netís Featured Weather Web Site for Summer, 2008!

Congratulations also, to all our outstanding nominees -- your efforts have not gone unnoticed!
« Last Edit: December 13, 2008, 11:46:22 AM by saratogaWX »
Ken True/Saratoga, CA, USA main site: saratoga-weather.org
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Offline Mark / Ohio

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Re: Summer 2008 Featured Weather Website is ThorntonWeather.com
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2008, 10:23:12 PM »
Congratulations Tony!   
Mark 
2002 Davis VP I Wireless, WeatherLink (Serial), GRLevel3, VirtualVP, StartWatch, Weather Display, Windows 10


Offline Anthony

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Re: Summer 2008 Featured Weather Website is ThorntonWeather.com
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2008, 07:49:46 AM »
Nice job Tony. Congratulations.



Thanks,
Anthony
WB8YUE

Offline kray1000

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Re: Summer 2008 Featured Weather Website is ThorntonWeather.com
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2008, 08:06:26 AM »
 UU Nice work! UU

Offline weathergirl

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Re: Summer 2008 Featured Weather Website is ThorntonWeather.com
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2008, 08:28:35 AM »
Excellent work, Tony :grin:
Ann-Marie
Beamsville, Ontario, Canada

Offline ThorntonWeather

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Re: Summer 2008 Featured Weather Website is ThorntonWeather.com
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2008, 09:34:21 AM »
Thank you to all for the votes and more importantly, thank you to those that give back to the community and help others out.  I am always amazed at the kindness and generosity of the online PWS community!

    T

Offline BfdWx

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Re: Summer 2008 Featured Weather Website is ThorntonWeather.com
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2008, 06:51:47 PM »
Tony,

I've always admired your site and your dedication to it, including your blogs! The new design is nicely laid out and very informative. Congratulations and keep up the awesome work!

Regards,

Jack

Offline WeatherBeacon

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Re: Summer 2008 Featured Weather Website is ThorntonWeather.com
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2008, 07:55:10 PM »

Nice site! Congrats, Tony!
Mae govannen!
Kevin  (Member AMS) http://www.wxbeacon.com               Genesee County, Michigan
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Offline anchorageweather

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Re: Summer 2008 Featured Weather Website is ThorntonWeather.com
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2008, 06:03:57 AM »
Congrats Tony!  Great site. 
South of the Tracks, Anchorage, KY

Offline W Thomas

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Re: Summer 2008 Featured Weather Website is ThorntonWeather.com
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2008, 04:24:35 PM »
Congrats on the award !! Site looks great!
Good Work !!


     Best Regards
     Wayne

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