When the weather changes, most people turn to their radio or television to see what they need to wear, what precautions they need to take and whether or not school will resume the next day. However, without cameras, microphones or a large production studio, one of the most accurate weather forecasting companies in North America resides right here in Edmond. Collecting gigabytes of satellite delivered weather data each day, two brothers have built the weather authority, WeatherBank Inc.
Co-owners, Steven Root, chief meteorologist and twin brother, Michael, redefine what it means to soak up and disperse weather data. Years ago, they also anticipated how weather patterns will eventually affect consumers’ daily routines.
“Our clients seek accurate weather forecasts to predict energy demand,” said Steven. “The utility companies have extremely accurate computer models of power usage needs – predictions of what needs their customer base will have within one or two percent. Because their business success depends on being able to forecast their supply needs within such a small percentage, and because weather plays such a vital role in them being able to forecast power usage and fuel needs, they rely on us to accurately predict weather patterns.”
The energy industry will not be the only service provider in need of this overwhelming and detailed weather data. Eventually, more and more retail providers will want a sneak peek at what WeatherBank predicts. Lowes, the home improvement store, for example, is already tapping into the vast information WeatherBank provides.
Remember the crowds of people running into stores, frantically searching for shovels or De-Icer during the January and February ice storms? In a few years, more and more companies will need to depend on WeatherBank’s weather forecasting for that exact reason. This will make it easier to deliberately meet consumer demand. Companies will know a year ahead of time when to order and where to stock certain products preventing last-minute shopping chaos caused by poor planning.
WeatherBank’s databases include historical weather information dating back hundreds of years. That information allows them to spot weather patterns or trends, sometimes even before those patterns turn into actual “weather.” Most of their clients depend on that information to make their high dollar decisions.
“They don’t want to hear if it ‘might’ rain or it ‘might’ be foggy,” said Steven. “They want to know if it is or isn’t, and how much—period.”
The WeatherBank currently uses over 3,500 reference points across North America to receive any and all weather information. However, while the National Weather System is their source for raw data, WeatherBank reviews all data from many different sources, customizes it and renders a professional opinion and makes everything available via an in-house network.
“Nearly all impacted parties in the United States connects to our network when looking up weather data,” Root commented. “We also host over 200 websites here.”
WeatherBank began operations in Salt Lake City more than thirty-five years ago, then moved to Edmond in 1996 under the ownership of the Roots. “In today’s age of high speed communications, it is possible to provide highly localized information for any location in North America, right here from downtown Edmond, Oklahoma,” said Steven.
In the not so distant future when your automotive GPS system, informs you to take the upcoming exit because you are quickly approaching black ice, keep in mind that this technology’s patented information will probably have started at the “Root” of Edmond’s own WeatherBank.
For more information the general public can access WeatherBank’s information at www.weatherbank.com.