Rain or shine, Andrew Racki predicts forecasts on popular blog “The Weather Centre”


Kate Schneider

A screenshot of Racki’s “The Weather Centre” website

While many high schoolers spend hours tweeting, snapchatting or Instagramming every night, senior Andrew Racki is updating his renowned weather blog, The Weather Centre. Averaging around three thousand page views a day, Racki posts daily; providing long–run and short–run weather forecasts for the Chicagoland area.

At the end of eighth grade, Racki decided to pursue his passion of meteorology by launching his own site where he could journal forecasts that he predicted. Now, five years later, the blog has over 5.5 million views and its Facebook page has almost four thousand likes.

“When I was younger, my dad always turned on The Weather Channel,” Racki said. “I grew up watching it like a movie, 24/7. Then, after middle school, I decided to give blogging a try.”

Racki spends a few hours every night researching forecasts from different sites. He takes this information and compiles it into a brief summary, which he posts along with pictures on his site. Additionally, he provides links and resources to various weather models in order to help aspiring meteorologists search for forecasts.

He constantly keeps up with current weather patterns and has even created an interactive quiz that can predict if an individual’s school will close due to the cold or snow.

When the temperatures dropped below zero early this January, Racki tweeted repeatedly about the forecasts and chances of the district cancelling school.

“I started looking at Andrew’s tweets after the first snow day when D214 was the only district in the Chicagoland area that didn’t close,” senior Chris Topalis said. “I saw in his Twitter bio that he is going to be a meteorology major and he runs his own weather website, so I thought I should be listening to his updates.”

While the target audience for The Weather Centre is working–class people in their 30s or 40s, professional reporters have used it as a source for their articles as well.

“The Weather Centre has been mentioned in the New York Times, Toronto Star and other articles and broadcasts,” Racki said.

However, Racki is not necessarily getting recognition  for all of his hard work because he does not publicize that he is a senior in high school. Visitors think they are receiving their weather updates from an established meteorologist. Racki’s blog was mentioned in an article about long–term forecasts published by the Huffington Post in 2012.

“[The Weather Centre] forecast is accompanied by a detailed explanation of the reasoning behind its forecast,” meteorologist and writer Paul Yeager said. “It’s clear that a significant amount of meteorology is behind the forecast.”

An article in the Toronto Star called The Weather Centre “a near–fanatically detailed amateur weather blog” and the Kennebec Journal referenced one of Racki’s forecasts to judge a winter storm in Maine.

“As far as I know, I am the only young person around blogging about forecasts regularly,” Racki said. “It’s awesome to see professional writers reference my posts, which they think are written by a professional meteorologist.”

This fall, Racki will attend the University of Oklahoma to study meteorology.

“I chose OU because they have the best [meteorology] program in the country,” Racki said. “I hope to keep blogging for at least a couple more years, then I’ll decide what I want to do next.”