Alum launches interactive weather website

Whitney Allen

A 2010 WKU graduate has channeled his passion for meteorology into a recently launched website dubbed “Weather or Not.” Landon Hampton developed to provide the public with a “no drama, sensible approach to weather.”

Hampton reiterates this is not a generic presentation of weather forecasts but “a different breed of presenting weather news.” The daily posts are accented with images and mini-videos that bring the site’s personality to life.

In addition to having as many viewers as possible, Hampton also wanted to educate his audience by providing viewers with a “splash of education.”

Hampton, along with Benton sophomore Jacob Wilkins, provides educational posts that explain weather happenings. Some of the posts include tips on preparations against cold temperatures and what exactly the term “wind chill” encompasses.

Hampton has reached out to students in local schools to teach them about meteorology, in hopes they will be educated and possibly even pass the information along to families.

“We’re not boring,” Hampton said, adding that the use of puns and pop culture references keep the weather updates exciting, even when the weather itself is not.

“We want to give people a reason to come back even when there’s not weather,” he said.

Hampton said social media has been a driving force—the use of Twitter and Facebook not only allows instant weather updates, but has also helped spread the word about Weather or Not.

Weather or Not is closely linked with the WKU Meteorology Department, using the department’s lab on campus to do some of the weather forecasting. In addition to Hampton, the Weather or Not staff is composed of WKU Meteorology students Zack Leasor, Jacob Wilkins and Ryan Difani.

Louisville senior Zack Leasor writes the Tuesday and Thursday afternoon forecast updates.

“It’s a very neat experience because it gives a different forecasting opportunity because it’s geared more towards the public and that gives me a more real-world experience,” Leasor said. “It puts a different spin on the weather.”

The memorable name of the site sparked from a conversation over lunch at Taco Bell with co-workers, rather than during the weeks they had spent trying to decide the name of the site in meetings, where names such as “Clever Weather” were suggested.

“We’re very outside-of-the-box thinkers,” Hampton said.

Hampton’s co-worker was discussing the Doritos Locos tacos and that customers have the option of “whether or not” they want cool ranch or nacho cheese.

“Our nation graphics guy goes ‘that’s it! “Weather or not,”‘” Hampton said.

Hampton contributes much of his inspiration to Dr. Durkee, associate professor in the meteorology department. Durkee not only taught and worked with Hampton throughout his college career, but the two remain in close contact so Hampton can mentor students in the program.

Dr. Durkee explained that he encouraged Hampton to think outside the box upon graduation.

“One route I thought Landon would be successful (in) is to carve a weather information system online for our community because that didn’t exist at the time,” Durkee said.

Hampton said there’s always been a vision, and if positive feedback continues to grow he might expand.

“I want to launch Weather or Not in other cities,” he said. “This is Bowling Green, I’d like to have Weather or Not Louisville or Lexington.”