WeatherBlog is 5 years old today
Today, Maryland Weather - the WeatherBlog, the Baltimore Sun's first online Web log - is five years old.
In the last 60 months we have posted almost 2,500 entries, and more than 2,200 reader comments. As we got the hang of this new medium, we have gradually added Web links, pictures and videos. And in July 2006 we began writing weather comments on Page 2A of the print editions.
Our weekly online page views now average around 14,000, but when snowstorms or hurricanes threaten Marylanders, that number can surge to more than 120,000. We generally rank between 10th and 20th of The Baltimore Sun's blogs in weekly reader traffic, not bad for a blog that has nothing to do with sports or eating.
The Sun's Davis Pro 2 weather station, at Calvert and Centre streets, which we pushed for, and made accessible through The Sun's weather page at MarylandWeather.com, gets 30,000 to 40,000 hits a month.
Curiously, while everyone has some need to know about the weather, that's not the topic here that seems to generate the most enthusiasm. In a week without snow or hurricanes in the forecast, it's our posts about the night sky that seems to generate the most reader interest.
Whether it is a passing comet, an expected meteor shower, and prominent display of bright planets or a flyover by the International Space Station, readers seem to get the biggest kick out of being plugged in to celestial events they might otherwise have missed.
After 35 years in daily newspapers, the WeatherBlog has been a fun and fascinating new adventure for me. Happily, I have found the daily interaction with readers - through email, snailmail, phone calls and reader comments to the blog - to be the most fun, the most rewarding and challenging part of the assignment. (And that, at right, is where it all happens.)
Anyway, I just wanted to note the anniversary and thank The Sun for the opportunity, and the WeatherBlog's many readers for your interest, kind words and encouragement over the last five years. Please keep those notes, emails and blog questions coming.
(Spaarnestad Photo/Flickr.com; also, SUN PHOTOS by Frank D. Roylance)