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Cloud Wars Image Credit: Forbes
Cloud Wars Image Credit: Forbes

Cloud Wars

A BEVY OF INNOVATIVE STARTUPS ARE LEVERAGING LOW-COST SENSORS, CHEAP PROCESSING POWER, AI AND ADVANCES IN MACHINE LEARNING TO REVOLUTIONIZE HOW WE PREDICT AND MODEL THE WEATHER. BUSINESSES RANGING FROM AUTO-RACING TO AGRICULTURE STAND TO BENEFIT WHILE AGING STALWARTS LIKE ACCUWEATHER HAVE THE MOST TO LOSE.

Susan Adams

“Nasty.”

That is the professional opinion of Joel Myers, the CEO of AccuWeather, about the weather on Mother’s Day in New York City, as rain pelts the pavement nonstop and temperatures drop into the 40s. From the corner of 50th Street and 3rd Avenue, he shoots a text to company headquarters in State College, Pennsylvania, suggesting employees use the word in the day’s New York forecast. “I’m always looking for ways to make the information we communicate better and more accurate,” he says.

Wiry and fit at 79 with a full head of dyed brown hair, Myers runs America’s oldest independent private weather forecasting company. He founded it in 1962 while studying for his master’s in meteorology at Penn State. His first client, a local gas company, paid him $150 to forecast three months of winter weather so it could plan for home heating demand.

Today conservative estimates of AccuWeather’s annual revenues exceed $100 million. Customers include hundreds of TV and radio stations across the country plus major print outlets like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. More than 1,000 companies use Accuweather’s private weather forecasts to improve their bottom lines. Those range from the obvious—railroads and amusement parks like Six Flags—to the less obvious—say, Clemson University’s campus police department and Starbucks.

In all, the business could be


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