11.18.2015

You Don't Need a Vane to Know Which Way the Wind Blows

It's strange knowing that, for the first time since my last semester of college, I don't have to get out of bed and scour the skie... thumbnail 1 summary 11.18.2015  |  00:11
It's strange knowing that, for the first time since my last semester of college, I don't have to get out of bed and scour the skies for some interesting weather blurb to share with a few thousand of my closest friends.

I could go on some lengthy rant about what happened and what they did and what the seven thousandth iteration of that website means on a larger scale, but who benefits from that, or even cares, really? New York blogger meta only appeals to New York bloggers, and New York bloggers don't seem to understand that.

The only thing I could do on Tuesday—since I had nothing else to do!—was to think about how much it meant to me to be able to help, inform, and entertain so many people for so long. I managed to run a successful weather blog on a gossip website for two years. That's pretty cool. The Vane was the opportunity of a lifetime, and it was an incredible experience to share the good word of the atmosphere with people who didn't think they cared.

My goal, both there and talking about it in general, is to make people love the weather as much as I do. I focused on that point in the introduction of my book, The Extreme Weather Survival Manual, which I wouldn't have had the opportunity to write had I not written for The Vane. That blog gave me a start to my life, and even though the blog was abruptly shuttered today, its benefits will live on for what I hope is a long career somewhere bigger and better.

Weather on Gawker was a weird fit to say the least, but I made it work to the tune of more than a quarter of a million readers every month. Last month—my last month, as it turns out—saw nearly 900,000 unique visitors from around the world thanks in large part to my coverage of record-breaking Hurricane Patricia. There were days when my weather posts were sandwiched in between the tabloidiest posts imaginable, and a post about warm temperatures sat at the top of Gawker for an entire day when the site went quiet during the "incident" this summer. I didn't belong there—they knew it, I knew it, the readers knew it—but, for reasons long ago I decided not to question, they continued to let me write about the weather almost every day for nearly two years.

I'm a better person for it.

I passed on the potential to write a brief "thank you" note on The Vane to close out the blog, as they indicated they just wanted to rip off the bandaid and stop the introspective meta nonsense that's plagued Gawker for so long. (That'll be the day.) Finishing the blog with a long, detailed post about the latest November storm seemed like the right way to go out, anyway.

What I would have said is a big thank you to everyone who read The Vane, whether you were a dedicated visitor or read my posts every once and a while. The internet is a cesspool of bad opinions, but every comment thread on that blog fostered good, productive discussions, and that's especially hard to achieve in the Gawkersphere. The discussions and compliments meant the world to me, and I knew it was worth it every time I read a thank you note from someone who said I helped them stay ahead of a storm or understand a complex weather event.

That chapter is over, now. The events of late are trivial in the long run. As long as there's active weather, I'll be right there covering it, whether it's here or somewhere bigger and better than I can imagine. I'm excited to see what the future holds.

[Image: Tim Sheerman-Chase via Flickr]

37 comments

  1. I really enjoyed your time with The Vane and will continue to enjoy your writing here. Bookmarked!!

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  2. They just keep taking away my nice things. Thank you for your work there, Dennis.

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  3. Absolutely loved your coverage on The Vane. Your writing style and content made the weather not only interesting but fun as well. It is because of you that learning about weather events was added to my daily browsing habits (where I almost always ended up on your posts).

    I wish you the best of luck on your future endeavors! For now, you'd better believe I have this page bookmarked (and added to the very small pool of white-listed pages in my ad-blocker).

    Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Sincerely,

    iNvDrZiM

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  4. Damn. I just heard about this on Gawker, ironically while reading about the "Godzilla" El Niño... (and hearing Dennis laughing at the name in my mind)
    Although I never made it out of the grays, I enjoyed reading your no BS take on weather.

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  5. I still think you;re one of the four horsemen... and I wouldn't have it any other way!

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  6. You'll be getting my clicks here, Dennis. Even turned off my ad-blocker for your site and everything. Oh, one note on the GM sites - As of yesterday, every time I visit them (using my super secure burner account that promises complete anonymity), Chrome shows up as using my GPS, which means the site is, to some extent, now gathering location information. Also, be careful uploading photos as a burner, they don't strip out EXIF data, which often contains quite a lot of information that is very useful in identifying the photographer.

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  7. I LOVED your work on the Vane! You always managed to explain quite complex stuff that could have been super dry and dull in a manner that was both simple to understand and entertaining. You're Top Gear-esque in your ability to make people interested in things they never knew were cool. Good luck! I hope better things are up next!

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  8. Keep up the good work. We've been getting a bunch of rain from this latest system in Central Ill. Now they're calling for snow Saturday. Ha! Hope you keep us posted where you end up.

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  9. Yes!! This is awesome - thank you.

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  10. Please keep us informed if another site hires you to blog for them.

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  11. Looking forward to the niceness!

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  12. Dennis "weatherdude" - I've really enjoyed your weather reporting on The Vane and your commentary on the other site before you moved to the Vane.....Good Luck on your new adventure, I look forward to more of your writing.... !

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  13. Found you thru a link from the comments from the inexplicably not cancelled 500 Days of Kristin. I have a feeling you'll be seeing more people arrive. Glad you're still weatherblogging. Welcome to my Feedly.

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  14. Just wanted to say I really enjoyed the Vane and am looking forward to continuing to enjoy your weather blogging wherever it's posted.

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  15. Weatherdude! We will come read you anywhere.

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  16. Thank you, I love The Vane despite Gawker so this is just freaking perfect.

    I have been curious about your opinion on the UK Met office naming storms this winter. So curious I actually emailed you @gawker last night. Oops. So do you have an opinion? I cannot find any standards for naming storms other than potential significant impact to Ireland or Britain. http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/uk-storm-centre

    Thank you for finding another way to inform and share your knowledge and passion with us.

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  17. Basically, you are my weather hero.

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  18. Thank you for the hard work you put in at The Vane, and for the awesome work that you're going to do in the future! I live in Boston and spent much of last winter alternately glaring out the window and throwing my back out shoveling, so I especially appreciated your coverage of our storms and enjoyed how informative, accessible, and reassuring it was. Also, when a gal and her weather-geek mom can bond over loving The Vane, you know you're doing something right.

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  19. I was a big fan of The Vane and was saddened to hear what happened and how it happened. I'll be bookmarking your new site. You do such an amazing job explaining the weather, its causes, and its impacts.

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  20. Thanks for telling us where to look for you Dennis. Bookmarking this now. Good luck in the future.

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  21. Bookmarked keep up the good work son, do not forget to throw some Canadian weather stories up in hurr.

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  22. Dennis, I'm delighted that you have created this site. Big fan! I was heartbroken over what went down & how it went down. I will never understand the Gawker employee practice mentality — guess it's a big city thing. I'll just stay in southern small town I'm in — we treat folks decently. You were too good for that site.

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  23. You were the only reason I looked at Gawker recently, and now I have this site in my Feedly! Bring on the ads! :-)

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  24. I sure as shit hope you're able to monetize things going forward. YOU DESERVE IT.

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  25. Happy to keep following you! Sorry to see that website lose all the reasons I had to visit.

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  26. Damn glad I found this. Just replaced my Vane bookmark with this site. I'm glad to see you're still going and I think you'll be better because of it. Keep up the amazing, educational posts; I'll surely be reading them.

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  27. Agreed with comments above. You had probably the last column on gawker that I routinely read. Good work.

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  28. Good to see you relocated, Dennis. Gawker is basically dead to me now (the vane, kitchenette, and io9 were my main draws). I hope you keep blogging and I enjoy your adorably geeky take on weather trends and science. :)
    Hopefully word will spread and we can get your audience over here (you have some fans at gawker making sure to spread this site around the comments). Good luck and looking forward to reading!

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  29. Glad you have started your own blog here, Dennis. Gawker has made some really trashy, ignorant decisions away from intelligent, informed, clever posts. I started following you on Twitter, and will be happy to read your columns here. It is really a joy to read your smart, interesting reports, and you even led me to follow some of the other interesting weather folks you've mentioned (the guy following that huge hurricane in Mexico, for example) on Twitter. I'm bookmarking this site and put your feed on my own home page, and will recommend it to anyone who's interested. You have a lot of fans. Keep up the good work!

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  30. I am fairly new to Gawker and their handling of their journalists brings back awful memories of being a corporate pawn. All the best to you and your fresh new start.

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  31. Glad to see you strike out on your own. Interested to see if the "chemtrolls" follow you over here too...

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  33. I am also very glad to see that you have your own site here. I sincerely hope you will find a way to continue writing your amazing articles. You truly care about the weather and about distributing good information, and that is very important. You also responded to many people's inquiries and provided in-depth responses when warranted. Your articles were the best part of Gawker and they are much worse off for not having you there anymore.

    I will regularly check this site now and am planning on buying your book (which I somehow didn't know existed). Good luck with everything and keep doing what you do.

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  34. I always, ALWAYS enjoyed the Vane, and will definitely be following you here. Thanks!

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  35. Miss your posts at the GOS, but read The Vane often. Will have to keep watching this space since I'm not on the twitter as often as I used to be.

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  36. Just found this site when I googled your name. Glad youre here. Bookmarked. Keep up keeping us informed.

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  37. I was mystified when your articles came to a screeching halt on The Vane. I was excited to find you here and on WeatherDam. Keep up the good works!

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