Westport is the hot spot for young weather forecasters.
The other day, “06880” highlighted Scott Pecoriello — the 2015 Staples High School grad whose WeatherOptics app offers a new way to look at meteorology.
Jacob Meisel was 2 years ahead of Scott. In high school, Jacob earned thousands of followers — and legendary status — with his accurate-to-the-snowflake wintry predictions of when schools would close.
He graduated this spring from Harvard University, with a focus on climate and politics. He minored in energy and the environment.
Along the way, Jacob’s “SWCTWeather.com” — his original, Southwestern Connecticut-centric creation — morphed into something much more.
After his first year at Harvard, Jacob got a call from Justin Walters. The co-founder of Bespoke Investment Group — a Westport resident — said he and his wife used SWCTWeather often to plan daycare, nanny times and more for their preschool kids.
He asked if Jacob would be interested in developing a subscription service.
Of course! That fall, he launched. For $15 a month, or $99 a year, subscribers in Fairfield, New Haven and Westchester counties received several updates a day during storms.
The next summer, Jacob — who had developed an interest in how energy markets are driven by weather — interned at Bespoke. He studied topics like how winter heating and summer air conditioning affected the natural gas industry.
He now works full-time at Bespoke. There he runs 2 businesses, under the Weather Services LLC umbrella.
One is his hyperlocal site. He partners with small businesses, schools, libraries and others to provide “impact analyses” to help determine opening and closing times, inventory and more.
He also analyzes weather trends — and develops custom reports — for corporate clients.
“Say a winter will be warmer than normal,” he explains. “There’s less salt on the road. Cars don’t get as worn down. They’re repaired less. That drives an auto parts store’s earnings down.”
Another business — a construction company — might use Jacob’s data to schedule roadwork.
Clothing retailers want to know about, say, October’s weather. That tells them whether to stock their shelves with sweaters, or keep shorts on display.
“Every day when I wake up, there’s new data and patterns,” Jacob says. “In high school, when I wrote 2,000-word posts on what type of snow was falling, I did it for fun.”
Weather has always been fun for Jacob Meisel.
Now it’s his business. Rain or shine.