Category: Announcements

We took advantage of a slow Sunday morning to move Space City Weather to a new server, which should load even faster than before, and which should allow us to weather any traffic spikes during major storms. We were able to make this significant investment thanks to the generosity of our readers during last month’s fundraiser, as well as Reliant’s ongoing support. Please, if you notice any problems, use the feedback form to let us know. (More server specs in a minute).

As for the New Year’s Eve forecast, it’s more or less on track. Above a small envelope of cool air at the surface, moisture from the Gulf of Mexico is streaming into the atmosphere above the upper Texas coast. The net effect of this is going to be on-again, off-again, light to moderate rainfall on Sunday, Sunday night, and Monday morning. Most of the region should see 1 inch or less of rain, so we don’t anticipate any problems.

NOAA rain accumulation forecast for now through New Year’s Day. (Pivotal Weather)

Fortunately, the rainfall should end by or before noon on New Year’s Eve, and we could see partly sunny skies with highs in the low 60s later in the day. As for the countdown to midnight, we expect partially clearing skies, with temperatures around 50 degrees and light winds. All in all, this is fairly good weather for New Year’s Eve festivities, so enjoy the celebrations.

As for our new server, we were fortunate to have Lee Hutchinson (a friend, and co-worker of mine at Ars Technica) do all of the back-end work for us. According to Lee, here are the details about our new server:

Space City Weather is now running on its own dedicated server, with no co-tenants and no sharing of anything. The box is a quad-core Intel Xeon E3-1230 with 16GB of RAM and dual 480GB SSDs in a RAID1 mirror, connected to the Internet via a dedicated 1Gbps uplink. We have plenty of room to grow and should be reasonably future-proof for at least the next several years.

Thanks again to all of our readers who supported us, and shared our site in 2018. We promise to deliver more of the same next year, with a site re-design and flood scale coming in the near future.

A special announcement about our 2018 site sponsor

Posted by Eric Berger at 10:00 AM

After 2017 in Houston, which featured everything from the costliest hurricane to ever strike the United States to a rare December snow, we can hardly guess what the near year will bring. (Certainly, we can be relatively confident in heat and humidity). Whatever this way comes, be it snow, rain, or intense heat, we’d like you to know that Space City Weather will be here every step of the way.

And that is why I am so thrilled to announce today that our sponsor during last year’s hurricane season, Reliant, has stepped forward to support the site for all of 2018. The company, and its president Elizabeth Killinger, believe strongly in the value we bring to to the Houston community, and they wanted to support our efforts. That means two important things for readers of Space City Weather.

One, we will have no outside advertising on the site. None. No auto-play videos. No pop-ups. Just a clean interface. This should make for lightning fast load times. Perhaps most importantly, it means we do not have to generate clicks for the sake of clicks. We don’t need to clickbait you because the value of our site isn’t determined by traffic. So if there’s not much to say about a 95-degree day in August, we won’t waste your time (or ours) by saying much.

Two, neither Matt nor I has much of a background in business or marketing. We’re scientists. We’re meteorologists. We’re writers. We just want to inform, entertain, and help you make decisions about weather and your lives. To that extent, having Reliant sponsor the site for all of this year means we can focus on weather, and pay with bills, with a minimum of distraction.

Finally, let me just say that I’m personally pleased that Reliant is back. Their very name is part of the ethos of this site. We aspire to provide a source of reliable information about weather in the greater Houston area. They’re a reliable provider of electricity and home services to the same market. It’s a great match for the new year.

So you’re thinking about buying a generator …

Posted by Eric Berger at 10:00 AM

This is the third in our series of posts sponsored by Reliant. They’re covering our site for the entire 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, and in return we’re writing a handful of posts that highlight their services to readers. Today’s post relates to your questions and answers regarding choosing a generator.

We’re now three weeks past the storms of Hurricane Harvey, and the rains are still fresh in our minds as we’re thinking about the next time. For most homeowners, the power didn’t go out this time, a real blessing amid the torrential rainfall. The power remained mostly on during Harvey because winds never reached sustained tropical storm speeds in Houston—but for hurricanes making landfall closer to our region that won’t be the case. Therefore, as you’re updating your hurricane survival plans after Harvey, this post will answer some questions you may have if you’re considering a generator.

For Houston residents, our sponsor, Reliant, has the expertise to help take the guesswork out of the process. They can help by providing guidance about the installation process, selecting the right model, the right fuel—natural gas, portable, even solar— and addressing costs. The purpose of this post is to answer some of those questions.

Deciding whether to purchase a generator is a big decision. Here are some tools to help you. (Reliant)

The first step is to request a free assessment. Reliant will come to your home to determine the best generator for your needs, installation location and budget. This is a good time to ask all of the questions you have about the whole process. Here are some of the general installation questions likely to come up:

  • Is my home eligible for a Reliant generator installation? You must own the home and have natural gas line access to the house.
  • Where do you install the generator? Reliant tries to place the unit near the breaker box. If it can’t be installed there, Reliant will work with you to find a desirable location.
  • Will any construction be needed at my home? A concrete slab will be poured, similar to what an outside air conditioning unit sits on. A licensed plumber and electrician will run piping and wiring to connect the generator to the gas line and electrical breaker box. Sometimes these are below ground; sometimes they are attached to the house. All work done complies with building code standards.
  • Who will perform the construction and install the generator? Professional technicians who are licensed, insured and background-checked perform all construction, installation and maintenance.
  • How long does it take to install a generator? From start to finish, it usually takes 5 to 7 business days.
  • Do I need to contact the city about permits for my generator installation? No. Reliant will handle all permitting for you, and notify both the city and your transmission and distribution provider (CenterPoint in Houston) on your behalf.

Read More…

E-mail subscriptions for Space City Weather

Posted by Eric Berger at 11:42 AM

This is just a quick note to test the e-mail subscription feature for the site. When we moved servers last week, we couldn’t immediately move the subscriber list with us. That meant we went from more than 2,000 e-mail subscriptions down to zero. Some people have signed up since then.

Today I think we finally solved the problem of transferring the old e-mail addresses from our original server, so our subscriber list is back up over 2,000. But I’m not 100 percent sure what will happen if you signed up in the last week.

So this is a test. If you just get this e-mail once, perfect. If you receive it multiple times, click the “manage subscriptions” button at the bottom of this e-mail to pare back to one subscription. And if you didn’t receive an e-mail, and want to, sign up in box to the right of this post that says “Subscribe via e-mail.”

Thanks to everyone for their patience.