AccuWeather's 55th anniversary: A weatherman's childhood dream come true

Dr. Joel N. Myers has had a passion for weather since his childhood.

"I remember when I was three or four years old I was fascinated by snow," Myers said. "I loved when it snowed and got excited during snowstorms. I remember when I was seven years old, particularly, there was a snowstorm in Philadelphia that blocked the streets and my aunt was trapped at our house and stayed up virtually all night just watching the snow come down, and just being fascinated with the impact of the snow on civilization."

"It was about that year or the year after that my grandmother bought me a diary, and I started writing the daily weather conditions, just during the winter, rain and 56 or whatever, to keep track of particularly when snow occurred," he said.

Just a few short years later when he was 11 years old, Myers began to create small business opportunities for himself- making potholders with his younger brother, having a paper route- and decided that one day he'd like to create a business that involved his love of weather.

"That’s when I first got the idea of what would eventually become AccuWeather," he said.

His dream began to take hold in 1962 when he acquired his first client. At the time, Myers was a graduate student at the Pennsylvania State University. All three of his meteorological degrees come from the Pennsylvania State University. Since he was growing the company while advancing his education, as well as teaching some of the university's meteorology classes himself, he established his headquarters in State College, Pennsylvania, near the school.

Dr. John Cahir worked as a professor at PSU for 37 of his 55 year meteorology career. He taught alongside Myers and was there watching as AccuWeather began to come together as a company.

"The task of moving to the private sector in those days, other than niche forecasting, some people had small businesses where they were doing a particular service for some niche, but other than that there was nobody doing forecasting on a broad scale," he said. "Joel actually started a niche with the ski forecasting but he quickly managed to expand that into a much more general forecasting system which could be applied to many different types of clients, and it was based on doing a lot better job forecasting and paying better attention to the needs of the clients."

Myers was not afraid of rejection, and he was not easily dissuaded. Starting the privatized weather company he had in mind was not a familiar concept to most, and many were hesitant to be part of it. He recalls receiving thousands of nos when trying to find clients to get his business started.

Today, AccuWeather is available to nearly 2 billion people through mobile, wired and non-wired devices. AccuWeather forecasts are also available in 700 newspapers, 900 radio stations and 200 television stations.

A lot has changed about weather forecasting over the years. The role of computers, radar and satellites have changed the way meteorologists forecast the weather. Myers changed the way consumers receive weather.

National Weather Service Director Dr. Louis Uccellini credited Myers, along with his brothers AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers and AccuWeather Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Evan Myers, for redefining a fledgling industry and becoming a major force in creating the private weather industry of today by creating AccuWeather.

They made AccuWeather a fundamental component of the public, private, academic and research weather enterprise, an enterprise that has grown rapidly over the past 30 years, Uccellini explained.

“Our fanatical commitment to Superior Accuracy allows us to carry out our mission of saving lives, minimizing bodily harm and helping people get more from their day as well as help thousands of companies and government agencies plan better, minimize losses, operate more efficiently and keep their employees safe,” said Myers.