A little over a year ago, we debuted a weekly weather forecast from an unlikely source–a then-16 year old Wilton High School student named Jackson Dill. Each week he helps Wilton residents find out what’s in store and whether they need to take along the trusty umbrella. He also has his own weather website called, appropriately, Jackson’s Weather.
Dill just relaunched his website with what he says is a definite upgrade. We took the opportunity to ask Dill some questions:
How old are you now? 17
When did you first launch Jackson’s Weather? March of 2014
What got you excited about meteorology and forecasting? Ever since Hurricanes Irene and Sandy back in 2011 and 2012 respectively, I became very fascinated with the weather. I was amazed by how such a powerful storm can form and cause so much damage.
How big has your weather service and website has gotten since you first started? At first when I started Jackson’s Weather, I probably got a few views a day to the website, and this was before I had any social media accounts. Within a year after starting Jackson’s Weather, I expanded to provide updates on social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), where I have a total of about 1,500 followers. These platforms definitely get the most views, whereas my website gets about 30 views a day. During significant storms, especially the snowstorms, however, I sometimes get over 1,500 views to the website in a single day. I know that the school predictions page is very popular.
How is the new site different than what you were doing previously? My goal with the new website was to provide a cleaner, more modern look. I want to make the website as easy to use and follow as possible. By reorganizing it and providing all of the weather forecasting information onto one page instead of three or four, I hope it makes the experience for users even easier and faster.
Who uses it, and where can it be found? Most of my followers come from Wilton, but people from other towns in Fairfield County also view my website because I provide the weather to the entire county. There aren’t many websites out there that provide detailed weather forecasts for such a localized area, so this is definitely an advantage and a plus for the followers in our area. About a year or two after launching Jackson’s Weather, my website had made it to the top spot on Google when you search for the website.
What have you learned in the three years since starting the site? I learned a great deal about forecasting the weather, which is the career I want to get into, and how to be efficient with my time. I’m a senior in high school, so I am loaded with homework, college applications, and I also swim almost every day of the year. I have been able to find a good balance of my time managing the website, providing updates on social media, and still having free time.
What are some of the innovations you’ve made and accomplishments? This past summer, I was very excited to have been discovered by the creator of the app called ‘Hurricane Tracker.’ The creator found my account on Twitter and all of my frequent updates on the hurricanes that I share, so he got in contact with me and I became the Director of Social Media for the app in late-August. Currently, the social media platforms for the app have a total of about 300,000 followers and the app has been featured on national news, including CNN. During this summer, it made it to the top of the App Store several times and has gotten over 600,000 downloads. I am also in the middle of completing a website for the company, WeatherOptics. The new website was just released, and it will provide national weather discussions. Businesses will also be able to purchase a plan where they get their own personalized forecasts and have a meteorologist always on-call.
The photographs you have on the site are incredible–and they’ve been shot by you! How has your photography developed since working on the site? I am always amazed by the weather and the sights it can create. Whenever I go on vacation, I have to be up and at the beach to watch the sunrise while capturing hundreds of photos because I want to remember how beautiful and precious nature and our environment is. With my new website, I wanted to showcase some of my best photographs, which are all shot on my iPhone. Aside from forecasting the weather, actually featuring the cool sights weather creates was important for me to include.
What are your plans for after WHS and graduation? I plan on majoring in meteorology and possibly journalism in college and eventually becoming a broadcast meteorologist on TV. I love sharing the weather forecast with others, so being on television will make a perfect fit. I am very excited for what the future may bring me in my next step of life.