Snow Day Predictor (2017-)

For the past three winters, I’ve been running a Snow Day Predictor for my school. Since then, the predictor has been an interesting testbed for a lot of new ideas that I have. This article will focus more on the actual development and programming of the predictor, rather than the actual weather predicting.

 

2017-2018 Season

Long before the first season of the predictor, I was giving out pretty accurate snow day predictions to a few of my friends. Word must of spread around as I had more and more people asking me what the chances of a snow day would be, so I decided to fire up a page on my website so that I could point people to it.

The initial run of the predictor online was…meager at best. The predictor looked fine, with an intentional design focus to have the most important information first (the main prediction), when information getting less important as a user scrolled down the page. Being integrated into my WordPress site was fine, although load times were slow and mobile optimization wasn’t anything great. Marks for style were also nonexistent since it used my okay WordPress style.

I also made a huge mistake by assuming that everyone who wanted predictions would visit the site. I would flat out tell people to visit the site for the latest information, which is bad marketing to say the least.

Otherwise, the first season was actually quite good. In March 2018 there were a string of 5 snow days all within a few weeks, and every storm I made accurate predictions for. In total there were 16 events, of which I got 62% of them correct. Certainly not shabby for the first year of operations.

 

2018-2019 Season

The 2018-2019 iteration of the predictor certainly made leaps and bounds over the 2017-2018 iteration.

First on the table was the website. WordPress, as mentioned above, was okay, but nothing spectacular. To get around this issue, I whipped up a basic, but visually appealing predictor site using Materialize/Bootstrap. It’s nothing to knock your socks off, but a clean, elegant solution was what I needed for the new season. Similar to last year, the site had the same design philosophy, with the most important information being first on the website, and as a user scrolls down on the site the information gets less important.

I’m actually pretty proud of how the site came out. Although it’s super basic, it gave the predictor an iconic look that it needed.

 


 

Source code for the Snow Day API is available here when it releases: https://gitlab.com/o355/snowday-flask

Source code for the actual website is also here: https://gitlab.com/o355/snowday (Please note: As of March 28, 2019, the repository is not in sync with the website code. Updates are coming soon, please wait patiently. You can also download the website file itself, there is no obfuscated HTML/JS, etc.)

 

Check out the website here: https://owenthe.ninja/snowday