Category: Announcements

Howdy, folks—my name is Lee, and I’m the SCW server admin. I don’t post often (or really ever!), but with Eric and Matt off for the day to recover from their marathon forecasting job, I wanted to take the opportunity to talk to y’all a bit about how Space City Weather works, and how the site deals with the deluge of traffic that we get during significant weather events. This isn’t a forecasting type of post—I’m just an old angry IT guy, and I leave weather to the experts!—but a ton of folks have asked about the topic in feedback and in comments, so if you’re curious about what makes SCW tick, this post is for you.

On the other hand, if the idea of reading a post on servers sounds boring, then fear not—SCW will be back to regular forecasts on Monday!

(I’m going to keep this high-level and accessible, so if there are any hard-core geeks reading here who are jonesing for a deep-dive on how SCW is hosted, please see my Ars Technica article on the subject from a couple of years ago. The SCW hosting setup is still more or less identical to what it was when I wrote that piece just after Hurricane Harvey.)

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Reliant returns to sponsor Space City Weather for 2020

Posted by Eric Berger at 10:00 AM

Amazingly, Space City Weather will turn five years old in October of this year. Long-time readers may remember that in the very beginning we ran a few advertisements, but they slowed down the site, offered content we could not control, and really generated very little revenue. In early 2017, we moved to a monthly sponsorship model, and in June of that year Reliant stepped in. They were a great partner in terms of message—reliability is in their name after all—and a well-known Houston brand. They have been with us ever since.

So we are thrilled to announce today that Reliant will again support the site for all of 2020. The company, and its president Elizabeth Killinger, believe strongly in the value we bring to to the Houston community, and want to continue supporting our efforts.

For our readers, this means we will continue to have no outside advertising on the site. None. No auto-play videos. No pop-ups. Just a clean interface with a message from our sponsor. This should make for lightning fast load times. Perhaps most importantly, it means we do not have to generate clicks for the sake of traffic. That’s right, no clickbait. Instead, Matt and I will strive to provide you with the most reliable forecasts we can.

From providing us with outstanding T-shirt designs for our annual fundraiser and hosting a generous giveaway of two AC systems, to keeping you informed when record breaking heat takes over the state, Reliant’s support of our site extends to our readers.

Also, because of Reliant’s ongoing commitment, we are able to invest in the site. This year, you can expect us to roll out a new daily newsletter and a site redesign. (We do look a little dated). The newsletter feature will provide full updates—no need to click through to the site—in a stylish format. Look for this in the first quarter of the year. We’re excited to bring it to you.

Finally, let me say a word about Reliant. They sponsor Space City Weather to show their support for what we’re doing, and because we all need electricity, they share helpful messages from time to time. This year, Reliant is empowering Texans to power your way with “Pick Your Free,” a new experience that personalizes power by helping customers find an electricity plan that is right for them.

Regardless of how you use and manage your energy, whether you like to monitor it regularly or set it and forget it, Reliant has you covered with plans that work for every lifestyle. For example, the new Reliant Truly Free 7 Days plan provides free electricity for the seven highest usage days in a monthly billing cycle, but there’s also the Reliant Truly Free Weekends or Reliant Truly Free Nights – all of which are actually free during the designated time period and come with a free Google Nest Hub. You can compare them here to see if any of these deals work for your household needs.

Thanks again to Reliant, and we’re looking forward to another great year of them powering Space City Weather!

Most readers probably realize by now that the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon is coming up soon—Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took one giant leap for mankind on July 20, 1969. This is an achievement that all of Houston can celebrate, as this city played an instrumental role in putting the first human beings on the surface of another world. I’m thrilled that many of our readers played a part, big or small, in that achievement. So to honor Apollo, and NASA’s success, we’re changing our logo this month to include the original Apollo Program patch instead of a cloud and a star.Matt and I are just really proud to be a part of the Houston community, and its deep connections to the space industry. We’re so appreciative of this, in fact, that we incorporated “Space City” into our name. But this month, we’re extra proud, and wanted to say thank you to all of the men and women who made it happen.

As this weekend so effectively demonstrated, summer has begun in Houston. And with July, August, and September around the corner, we’re facing several months of high heat. So, this is the perfect time to announce a pretty amazing contest that our friends at Reliant have come up with. They’re teaming up exclusively with Space City Weather to give away two complete, brand new air conditioning systems, with delivery and installation included, to our readers.

Yes, really. You can enter the contest here.

Reliant has sponsored this site for two full years now, and they really value what we’re doing to keep the greater Houston area informed about weather in a reliable and sensible way. To show our readers how important they are to Reliant, the company will award two air conditioners worth an estimated $11,000 each.

There really are no catches to this. Reliant just wants readers to know they appreciate Space City Weather, too, and to let them know about their AC Heat & Repair business.

A quick summary of the rules appears below, but for full rules and details of the contest, click here.

  • One AC unit will be given away to entrants between June 10–July 10
  • One AC unit will be given away to entrants between July 11–Aug 13
  • One winner will be chosen, randomly, at the end of each phase
  • Winners must be 18, and own a home in the greater Houston metro area
  • Your AC system must be 8 years or older

If your air conditioning system is not more than eight years old, or more importantly, if you know someone who could really benefit from a free, new AC system heading into the hottest time of the year, please share the contest link with them.

Update

We have our first winner! The winner of round one of Reliant’s AC giveaway—Farrah Gauge is thrilled. She told us: “What an incredible gift! Our current A/C is 18 years old and definitely on its way out so this could not have been better timing. You have gained a lifelong customer and advocate. Thank you Reliant!”