On July 27, Jackson’s Weather — an online, local weather service founded and run by Wilton teen Jackson Dill — will become inactive.
Its 17-year-old founder and president made the decision in order to focus on the next chapter of his life: college.
“After spending months figuring out this decision, I realized that I will likely not have time to update the website and social media accounts every day,” said Jackson, a 2018 Wilton High School graduate who will be attending the University of Miami in Florida in the fall.
Jackson said Jackson’s Weather has had a “significant impact” on his life.
“It gave me a purpose to pursue in a field that I am very interested in,” he said, “and the increasing support from the community that I have gained has encouraged me to better my forecasting skills so people actually have an accurate, local forecast they can follow.”
In the early stages of Jackson’s Weather, Jackson said he “just followed forecasts from other websites,” but he has since learned how to forecast on his own. He said running Jackson’s Weather has taught him how to run a small business and also how beneficial a platform can be to “many in the public.”
“It has been very rewarding when people notice me around town and discuss with me my thoughts about an upcoming storm,” he said.
Jackson said Jackson’s Weather has “come a long way” over the last three years.
“It began with this single-page website that contained a brief description of the weather you can expect the next seven days [and] contained zero graphics,” he said.
Since then, Jackson redesigned the website several times “to make the experience easier and simpler.” This included the addition of new features like more than 200 different forecast graphics, a feature called “ClothingCast” that provides suggestions of what to wear based on the weather, and school cancellation predictions.
However, Jackson said, one of the most significant changes did not have to do with the website itself, but the amount of followers Jackson’s Weather gained.
“It was a very slow start the first year or two of Jackson’s Weather, and it really wasn’t until this past winter when it grew the most,” he said.
“Starting with less than 100 social media followers in total and less than five website views per day, let’s just say it wasn’t what I hoped for.”
After learning how to “better communicate the weather” and how to increase his follower presence, Jackson said, Jackson’s Weather now has nearly 3,000 social media followers.
“I have also gained website views I never thought I would have received,” he said. “During some of the snowstorms, over 5,000 people would check the site in just a day.”
Jackson said the most rewarding part about Jackson’s Weather has been the support he’s received.
“During one of the winter storms this past March, my forecast did not verify as planned, so I released a statement on what went wrong with my forecast on Facebook. Just a few hours later, the post received hundreds of reactions and comments, all of which were positive, which made me realize how much trust people have in me and how understanding they are,” he said.
“It’s these followers who are one of the utmost reasons why I have Jackson’s Weather.”
In a June 11 statement, Jackson wrote that Jackson’s Weather also brought him several “amazing opportunities.”
During 2017’s hurricane season, he was discovered by the creator of the Hurricane Tracker App — an application with more than 500,000 active users — and became its social media director.
A couple months later, he was asked to create a new website for WeatherOptics. Not long after, he was promoted to chief operating officer of the Westport-based weather company.
Jackson plans to study meteorology and broadcast journalism in college with the goal of becoming a broadcast meteorologist one day.
“Based on the career I would like to go into … I will now have to face a new challenge in not only communicating on paper but on TV as well,” said Jackson, “but I am super excited for it.”
Jackson said he will miss Jackson’s Weather “immensely,” as it has been “a huge component of [his] life for over three years.”
While it will “definitely feel weird and different once it becomes inactive in late-July,” he said, “it’s time for a new chapter, and one that I am very excited about.”