Who is Jerry Shields?
On May 31st, 1985 my interest in weather was born. On that day the Barrie tornado hit an hour north of where I grew up. My fascination with the impact of severe weather on people's lives became consuming and it has never waned.
I attended York University for a BSc in Atmospheric Sciences. For years weather was a hobby aside from a successful career in Golf Management. When I moved to Northern Ontario I became acutely aware at the need for more accurate weather information and forecasts for regions outside Southern Ontario.
For over 15 years I built my forecast experience upon the foundation of my university educational. The unique challenges to forecasting in Northern Ontario has become a passion and with the growth of the internet I was able to bring my forecasts to the public.
SooWeather, the first forecast site I started, is nearly 10 years old now. The site that used to have a couple dozen visitors a day now has several thousand; sometimes nearly ten thousand a day during a big storm!! I am delighted in the interest that the Sault region has shown in the site and our interesting weather.
In 2011 my forecasting skills are being applied to the safety of citizens across Ontario. I signed a contract with the Ministry of Natural Resources to work as a Weather Specialist for Aviation, Forest Fires and Emergency Services. I now forecast weather and provide daily weather briefings to Forest Fire crews and Surface Water managers across the Province. This work is rewarding and has allowed for more growth in my weather career. It is also the reason why you may see some of my updates at 4am in the morning, as I head off to the Provincial Weather Office.
In early 2011 I began a project that would allow me to expand to more small communities around Northern Ontario. By the Fall of 2011 I will be introducing many new sites so that our small rural communities can have customized local weather forecasts that are specific to each community. This should improve the accuracy of weather information for the locations that are often forgotten or lumped together with bigger towns, by other weather sites.
What's next? I am motivated by the operational aspect of forecasting the weather. The direct application of weather data for the protection of life and property is a perfect fit for my skills. With time I envision my company growing to provide contracted weather services. Don't forget that I will endeavour to search out extreme weather, where-ever it occurs, and strive to generate the most accurate forecast available.
Thanks for visiting my site and I thank everyone for your feedback and support!