Jacob Meisel Weathers Every Storm

For a decent forecast, click on the National Weather Service, or watch the Weather Channel.

But if you really want accuracy, listen to Jacob Meisel.

Jacob Meisel, and his trusty laptop.

The Staples senior’s blog and Twitter feed are both called “SWCTWeather.” SWCT refers to Southwestern Connecticut.

And for in-depth, minute-by-minute, micro-isobar reporting, both are essential for hundreds of local students, teachers and administrators, plus area politicians, TV anchors, and anyone else who cares which way the wind blows.

Jacob became interested in weather as a young child. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much variety in his native Los Angeles. Fortunately, his parents moved to Westport when he was in 6th grade.

“If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait a minute,” Mark Twain supposedly said.

Jacob likes all kinds of weather.

He’s almost entirely self-taught. He learned about warm air advection, baraclinic waves — and stuff far more complicated — online.

That’s also where he studies tons of computer models.

And, much of the time, he discounts them.

Jacob seems to be right more often than the government agencies, and fancy websites. And he’s definitely right more often than the handsome/pretty faces who are paid big bucks to repeat breathlessly, and in spectacularly unorganized fashion, their predictions on TV.

This satellite image of Hurricane Sandy scared most people. Jacob Meisel was fascinated by it.

Take Hurricane Sandy — which everyone except a weather buff like Jacob wishes he hadn’t nailed. A full week before it hit — when everyone else hedged their bets — Jacob said there would be widespread power outages, and many days without school.

On the weekend, the moment Mayor Bloomberg said that evacuations were not needed and New York City schools would not be closed, Jacob tweeted that the mayor was wrong.

Jacob was right.

That Monday night, Jacob tweeted and posted updates. He was eerily close in predicting when the winds would be worst — and when they would subside. Some people appreciated hearing why — meteorologically speaking — the storm was so bad.

Others were comforted just knowing it would end.

But Sandy pales in comparison with a Saturday storm last January. Jacob posted that the snow would end at 2 p.m. It stopped at 2:01.

Jacob Meisel accurately predicted this 2011 snowstorm, which Huffington Post illustrated with a photo of Westport.

The December 26, 2010 blizzard also stands out for Jacob. He calls it “the worst forecast in history.”

Jacob says, “The National Weather Service didn’t alert people. I tried to.”

His inner weather buff emerges. “It was chaotic, and very exciting. It defied all the odds, and came right up the coast!”

What started out as a small website has turned into a major operation. Students rely on Jacob’s predictions — not of weather, but of school delays, early dismissals and closings.

State legislators and town employees follow his tweets.

The pressure is mounting — and he loves it.

In preparation for this winter, Jacob studied every local winter since 1949. He calls for t talsnowfalls “slightly above normal”: 32 to 41 inches.

But as exciting as Westport weather is, Jacob is a senior. College beckons.

He hopes to major in economics or political science. He looks forward to analyzing the impact of weather on politics, and local and world economies.

Jacob will do that wherever he goes. Weather Whether he gets into his 1st choice or not.

(Click here for Jacob Meisel’s blog.)

24 responses to “Jacob Meisel Weathers Every Storm

  1. Whenever there is a big storm on the way my son goes right to “Meisel” to let us know what is really going on!
    Thanks Jacob.

  2. Ilene Mirkine

    How wonderful that a bright, HS student has carved a space for himself where we all rely on him! ‘Wishing Jacob the best – we’re sure to read about him wherever he ends up (and those folks will be lucky if he continues his local forecasting). For now, be sure to bookmark his blog for easy reference! Thanks Jacob.

  3. Fascinating story. Back in the 1960s, Richard Berler showed the same kind of interest and enthusiasm–I recall his weather forecasts over the PA system at Coleytown Junior High on occasion–and he ended up becoming a professional meteorologist. (Obviously, the sophisticated computer models did not exist back then.). I hope Jacob too is able to go far with his passion for weather forecasting.

  4. He’s an amazing kid! And always accurate. (Goodbye weather channel)

  5. Michele Wrubel

    My husband is a “Weather Whiz” groupie and has converted the guys at his office into SWCTWeather-watchers as well. Looking forward to saying, “we knew him when….” Good luck, Jacob!

  6. Way to go Meisel!!! He is a very active, smart, and talented young man!

  7. Jacob, your passion for what will surely become your craft is a joy to behold; and you are a young Westport treasure just the same as a sports star or lead in the school play. I look forward to saying “we knew him back then” after you’ve gone on to your successful career in meteorology.

    (And please ignore the haters, I’m sorry you have to learn that skill at your age.)

  8. Jacob is just a great kid. He’s smart, funny, and kind. He’s also contributed an unbelievable amount of time to the community with his comprehensive, interesting, and accurate forecasts. He’s a gift to all of us.

  9. Mimi McLaughlin

    I don’t know Jacob Meisel, but I know he is the brother of Tess, his sister who died unexpectedly in an accident in Maine a year or so ago. While this should not inform the comments on this thread, or have anything to do with
    Jacob’s passion for weather, at the very least be sensitive with your comments.

    Frankly, regardless of whether any writer on this blog, or another, is willing to bare himself/herself to the scrutiny of the readers, no one should think it’s acceptable to denigrate that person for expressing their passion, opinion, knowledge or idea. Jean Marie, and we ALL know it’s you who weighs in on everything, do us all a favor and take some time to find your own kindness. It’s apparent to me that you do not have a generous heart.

    I have never commented on this blog before, and have wanted to many times, but tonight was just too much. Jacob is 15 years old, has a purpose in his life, and a passion that fuels it. What could possibly be wrong with that? Lighten up some of you. It’s only life.