This was a great year for The Vane—in fact, this was the only year for The Vane. America's favorite weather sub-vertical began on March 3, 2014, and it's been awkward ever since. Here's a look at the blog's roller-coaster year as it grew from a novelty to something that resembles a serious source for weather debunkery.
The above screenshot is what The Vane looked like a few weeks before it went live. The first post that appeared on the site, Massive Storm Destroys Washington D.C. With Three Whole Inches of Snow, was incredibly awkward and nobody read it. That wasn't the first article, though. The first post I wrote for The Vane (also pictured in the screenshot) was about The Weather Channel suing WeatherNation over its faulty closed captioning and appeared the following day. Again, nobody read it.
As with most new sites, "nobody read it" was a recurring theme for The Vane's first two months, but slowly and steadily, readership grew and word got out about the new blog on the block. It's been an interesting year of alternately debunking and mocking the people who believe in the "chemtrail" conspiracy theory, strongly criticizing forecasting organizations like The Weather Channel and the National Weather Service, writing on urgent weather matters like a derecho or Hurricane Arthur, and odd stuff like lightning destroying the Zephyrometer or a woman who spoke her mind during a liveshot in Memphis. Earlier in December, I even got to go inside the belly of the beast and spend a day at The Weather Channel's studios in Atlanta.
I'll be perfectly honest and tell you something that everybody knows—the weather isn't exactly a traffic juggernaut unless there's a huge event that everyone is talking about. It's a good day if something is able to crack the low five digits. From time to time, something on here is able to move into the six digits, but it's rare. The biggest "hits" so far have been my pieces on chemtrails, especially "Why I Write About (and Debunk) the Chemtrail Conspiracy Theory," which has 146,672 views according to the counter embedded in Kinja. Chemtrail activists—people who believe that the harmless condensation trails that follow behind high-flying jet aircraft are really chemicals being sprayed to manipulate the weather and make us sick—are endless sources of entertainment, but they're starting to turn their fear and confusion into threats of violence, so that could be a scary story going into the new year.
Far and away the biggest post on The Vane this year was about Priscilla Lester, a Memphis woman whose home flooded for a fifth time back in September. A news crew interviewed her in the pouring rain on the afternoon of September 12, and she said "I've been over here ever since 2003 and this is the five time this motherfucker been goddamn..." The station quickly cut her off, but not before the f-bomb went out over the air. The post garnered more than a quarter of a million hits.
The station, doing what good news organizations should do, went back when the rain cleared out and interviewed Lester to let viewers hear her side of the story after her viral outburst on live television. The event was the fifth time that her house had flooded since she moved in eleven years ago—as I said in the post, I think any of us would be upset if our home kept flooding with rain and sewage.
When you look at the weather over the past 365 days, this was an ugly year filled with long periods of tranquility interspersed with short bouts sheer terror. It will be interesting to see what happens next year. Whether it's cold or hot, tornadoes or blizzards, raining down from above or rising up from below, we'll be ready for it.
Thanks for reading and supporting The Vane over the past ten months. I'm looking forward to what we'll do in 2015. Happy new year, and let's make this next one suck less.