As a sophomore at Somers High School in 2014, Zach Krauss thought that he would go on to study weather at Cornell University.
His forecast was accurate: This semester, he will graduate with a degree in meteorology and a double minor in climate change and applied economics from the Ivy League school.
Though weather has been a passion of his since a very young age, Krauss said, it was in high school when he began to make a name for himself as a go-to forecasting buff.
“By sophomore year (at SHS), I was getting so many people asking me whether we were going to have a snow day or not that I decided to just start a website where I would put my predictions on what Somers was going to call before each snowstorm and a brief summary of my forecast,” he said.
The popular website called Krauss’ Klosure Forecast was used by students and administrators alike and boasted a prediction accuracy rate of 78 percent.
“I realized how weather impacts every part of life, whether it is business or school or recreation,” he said.
Krauss thanked his teachers at SHS for having encouraged and fostered his ambitions—many allowed him to share his weather forecast at the beginning of their classes and on the school TV.
“Having supportive people was very helpful; Dr. Blanch, the superintendent, and Mr. Bayer, the principal, once called me into the office to ask if thunderstorms were going to impact the upcoming graduation ceremony in the afternoon—that was one of the proudest moments of my 13 years in Somers,” Krauss said.
Krauss recently became the majority owner of SWCT/NY Weather, a hyper-local weather service. The business had been run by an accomplished weather consultant and mentor to Krauss and was where the budding meteorologist had worked as an intern over the past few years. The service, which has several hundred paying subscribers along with 17,000 Twitter followers, provides in-depth regional forecasts for Westchester, New Haven and Fairfield counties, which are sent by email.
Given that larger weather services offer forecasts based on machine-learning and computer algorithms, Krauss said, customers of his service have responded to the personal feel of his forecasts and they seem to appreciate the effort that goes into the write-ups, charts and graphs that he offers.
“If we have someone who is from Westchester and forecasting for Westchester, they can get very detailed by understanding the local geography and how the weather patterns work, with that being their sole focus,” he said. “We provide very detailed forecasts, discussing upcoming threats and how they will impact schools or the Metro North train, for example.”
As for his future, Krauss is still pondering graduate school or working at a full-time job after graduation. He said his hope is to pair forecasting with business in some regard; perhaps in risk management, commodities trading or other areas where he can use his skills and instincts to analyze the impacts of weather on everyday life.
When asked for some weather predictions for the forthcoming winter, Krauss was cautious: “Winter is still months out and I am still working on my long-range forecasting ability,” he said. “But initial guidance would suggest that it should be wetter than normal—and there is still conflicting information on colder or warmer, so I don’t really want to touch that right now.”
For a discount on Krauss’s weather service, visit swctweather.com and use code “TUSKER” for 15 percent off any subscription.