In the mid-1970s, a seven-year-old Bill Kirk watched a weeklong "Kona Low" bring 100 inches of rain and non-stop 50 mph winds to Hawaii, nearly destroying his mother's furniture business.
An ensuing lifelong fascination with meteorology led Kirk, along with Jack Grum, to found Weather Trends 360
in 2002. The Bethlehem-based company uses proprietary technology and global data going back 120 years to forecast temperature, rainfall and snowfall anywhere in the world nearly a full year ahead with an impressive accuracy score of 84 percent.
The company serves industry sectors such as agriculture, retail, financial services and manufacturing. Clients include Microsoft, Target, Unilever, J.P. Morgan, Walmart, Coca-Cola and many other giants.
Unlike most weather forecasts, which are short-term and change frequently, Weather Trends delivers a stable, 11-month forecast that enables clients to plan proactively.
Retailers, for example, "use our year-ahead predictive analytics to better plan inventory levels up to nine to 11 months in advance [and to plan] advertising buys to make sure they time their ads with the right weather," explains Kirk.
Farmers and growers are also inextricably bound to weather. Weather Trends provides actionable information, informing them which seed varieties to use, when to plant, what sort of yield to expect and offering pricing predictions.
"Clients also use the information to better plan short term replenishment strategies, store displays, spot advertising, marketing campaigns, short-term social media advertising optimization and labor scheduling," adds Kirk.
Weather Trends sells its services via a syndicated subscription model tailored to individual customers' planning geographies and categories. The company has also launched on a new service that allows small businesses and farmers to access their forecast for under $300 a year (compared to the $150,000 or more charged to other clients).
Weather Trends nailed the brutal winter last year. Wondering what's ahead
"This year we’re going more conservative and do not think it will be anywhere near as bad as last year," insists Kirk. "But, we are cooler than the very warm NASA and [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] forecasts."
Source: Bill Kirk, Weather Trends 360
Writer: Elise Vider