Jeff Masters Is Leaving Weather Underground in November

October 3, 2019, 10:39 AM EDT

Above: Jeff Masters taking in the sunset at Big Sur, California on December 12, 2014, after a visit to the WU office and the AGU conference in San Francisco. Image credit: Diane Hallinen. Diane, thanks for being such a wonderful source of inspiration, ideas, proof reading, and emotional support during my 24 years in this crazy job. I love you!

This year’s hurricane season will be my final one with wunderground.com. After co-founding the company 24 years ago and writing over 3000 blog posts during a 14-year writing career, I am parting ways with Weather Underground. At the end of October I will be leaving IBM, which has owned wunderground.com since 2016.

Bob Henson will be remaining with WU and will continue his excellent work on the Category 6 blog. I will make posts on Category 6 until the end of October.

Leaving WU is both a relief and a sadness. I will greatly miss the wunderground community that has arisen from what I helped found. Weather Underground was an incredibly unique and wonderful place to learn about weather and share weather knowledge and experiences with others passionate about the weather. I will also sorely miss working with Bob Henson, who is not only the best weather and climate science writer in the world, but also one of the most genuinely warm and wonderful people I’ve ever met. I will also miss the dedicated people at weather.com who welcomed me into their organization when WU was sold to The Weather Channel in 2012. The managers, meteorologists, and writers who work there are incredibly hard-working, and their dedication to telling great weather stories is unmatched. I am extremely grateful to see how their coverage has evolved to focus on climate change, and I am proud that I had a role in helping them in that direction.

It is also a relief to be leaving, though. Writing every day about breaking weather events and climate change is a burn-out job—particularly during the heat of an intense hurricane season. I am grateful to weather.com and IBM for making me feel welcome and allowing me to continue covering what I love, but I’ve never felt comfortable in a large corporate environment--I was more in my element back in the old days of WU.

Eye of the Storm blog at Scientific American
Figure 1. Screen shot of my first post at my new home at scientificamerican.com: the Eye of the Storm blog.

I’m moving on to write for the Scientific American website

While I'm leaving WU, I came to the immediate realization: “I’m not all done.” I want to keep writing about extreme weather and climate change from my home here in Michigan. However, I don’t plan on starting my own company, or writing at my own domain, as some have urged me to do.

Instead, I have elected to team up with Scientific American to write for the blogs section of the ScientificAmerican.com website. They have over 20 blogs there, including an excellent one by climate scientist Dr. Kate Marvel, called “Hot Planet: Climate science in a changing world.” My blog is called “Eye of the Storm: the Science Behind Extreme Weather.” I will be averaging 50 posts per year—a lot less than the 150 – 200 posts per year I’ve been doing for Category 6. Their website allows one to view 3 articles or blog posts per month for free; a $19.99 per year subscription is required to see more. My first post there is up: Hurricane Dorian Was Worthy of a Category 6 Rating.

The Scientific American website does not allow comments on their posts, so I plan on engaging with the WU community in the comments section of Category 6 to discuss my posts at Scientific American. Bob Henson and I will continue to work together to offer suggestions, quotes, and proof-reading services to each other, and I plan to be active in the comments section of his posts to offer my thoughts on his posts. I'm still sorting out how or if I will be doing daily coverage of the 2020 hurricane season, so stay tuned there.

I do have another project I want to work on after leaving WU: a fiction novel called Eye of the Superstorm. It’s an intense action-packed story involving hurricane hunting, tornado chasing, and a super flood on the Mississippi River. I’ve been working on it since 2010 (with some very long breaks!). In my mind’s eye, it would be awesome to watch a movie adaptation of it on the big screen.

Today's post is not my final good-bye--I'll still be posting here until the end of October. I expect there will be one more significant hurricane drama to cover this month, and I'll be here offering my usual insights. I'll give some final thoughts on my career here at WU in a final post at the end of October. A huge heartfelt thank-you goes to my WU co-founders--Perry Samson, Jeff Ferguson, Alan Steremberg, Chris Schwerzler, Dave Brooks, and Michael McDonald, and our first employees, Chuck Prewitt, John Celenza, and Christine Stowe, who got the WU ball rolling. Thanks go to Shaun, Elaine, Rob, Jessica, Kerri, Matt K., Aaron, Yaniv, Brendan, Zak, Eric, Richard, Megan, Toby, Shannon, Andria, Alison, Matt C., Lori, Kelly, Claire, Katrina, Lauren, Ambar, Angela, Prooshat, Chantelle, Kerri, Jim, Allan, Kourosh, Dan, Jeff, David, and the many other WU employees who worked so hard to make WU the great website that it was. My special appreciation goes to those of you who kept the servers and software running when the huge loads from landfalling hurricanes tested our systems to their max! And to Todd Henry, Tim Roche, and rest of the current WU staff, I say--crush it! Help WU move forward and be excellent.

A special thank-you goes to our volunteer moderators, who have done yeoman work keeping the trolls at bay and the discussion weather-centered. And thanks, Val, for all of your support--and for putting up with an absent father on so many beautiful August and September days when there was yet another hurricane drama unfolding. Thanks also go to the many fantastic bloggers that have contributed their remarkable insights to WU--particularly Steve Gregory, Chris Burt, Ricky Rood, Margie Kieper, and Lee Grenci. Special recognition goes to Maximiliano Herrera, for his amazing work keeping track of global weather records. And to all of you loyal WU fans who have stuck with me for so long--thank you, thank you! I love seeing your helpful links and meteorological banter in the comments of the Category 6 blog, and I will greatly miss being the leader of this wonderful community. It has been my honor to serve as your guide.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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Dr. Jeff Masters

Dr. Jeff Masters co-founded Weather Underground in 1995, and flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

jeff.masters@weather.com

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