Archive for December, 2008|Monthly archive page

The 2008 hurricane season comes to a close

This past Monday marked the end of the 2008 hurricane season, and with it, the end of our first big year at Stormpulse.com.

The season ended with a total of 17 tropical depressions, 16 of which became named tropical storms, 8 of which became hurricanes, 5 of which became major (category 3 or higher) hurricanes. This made 2008 the third costliest season on record (behind 2005 and 2004), and the fourth busiest since 1944.

Hurricane Ike, Galveston (Coast Guard Photo)

Hurricane Ike was the most eventful by far, landing on Galveston as ‘only’ a category 2 but nevertheless leaving a wake of destruction in its path. Gustav threatened to be worse than Katrina, but fortunately New Orleans was spared the worst and the levees held. At one point, four active storms dotted the Atlantic: Gustav, Hanna, Ike, and Josephine. And in a late-season emergence, Hurricane Paloma strengthened to a category 4 before making landfall in Cuba as a category 3 (amazingly, only 1 person lost their life as a result).

All of that activity added up to a season to remember, and a lot of visits to our site, with a lot of wonderful support, both financially (through our tip jar and Donate Now button) and verbally, as word of the site spread faster and faster. How fast was it? Well, take this example, sent to us on September 8th:

We were docked in Andros, Bahamas, waiting for Hanna to pass. The local weather, via satellite and Internet was so into Gustav that Ike was just another storm to be recconed with later. Everyone on the dock was very concerned about Ike. One of the boaters suggested we look at your site. We were able to make a decision from looking at all of the information, that was to “get outta town!”.And we did. Arrived in South Florida yesterday, feeling much safer. Thanks so much.

While this report came to us a full seven weeks after beginning our API program, we were still stunned to hear proof of the word of mouth that was transpiring. How that boater in Andros knew about our site, I have no idea. There was a time when I used to feel like I knew the core group that used Stormpulse; while that core group still does, that time is over. That core group has exploded, and the site has taken on a life of its own: it’s now owned just as much by its users as by yours truly.

Where will it go from here? Brad is in town as I write this, and for the next couple of weeks we are going to put our thoughts together and attempt to organize, filter, and boil down all of the great feedback we received this year, as well as new opportunities that have presented themselves that we’d like to attack before the 2009 season rolls around. It’s still a bit fuzzy, but it’s quickly taking shape; as soon as we have something concrete, I’ll post it here.

I’d like to also thank all of you for your wonderful support; whether you donated your visits, your time, your pennies, or your dollars, we thank you.

A few more highlights:

  • Stormpulse was blogged about on Yahoo! Tech, TechCrunch, and mentioned by Tim O’Reilly during his Web2.0 Expo speech in NY on September 18th.
  • Visitors came from 214 countries during the 2008 hurricane season. The United States, Canada, and the Dominican Republic were the top three.
  • Direct visits accounted for approximately 70% of all web traffic to Stormpulse.com this season.
  • Stormpulse.com is the #2 result on Google for ‘hurricane tracking‘, just behind the National Hurricane Center, and is the #1 result for ‘storm tracker‘ or ‘storm tracking‘.
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