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Westport Teen Maps Out New Financial Horizons For Weather Forecasting

Jacob Meisel, a 19-year-old from Westport headed to his junior year at Harvard, tells the Westport Sunrise Rotary how he makes money by forecasting the weather.
Jacob Meisel, a 19-year-old from Westport headed to his junior year at Harvard, tells the Westport Sunrise Rotary how he makes money by forecasting the weather. Photo Credit: Hal Levy

WESTPORT, Conn. — “If you knew what was coming, you could have made a pretty penny,” Jacob Meisel told the Westport Sunrise Rotary in his wide-ranging talk about weather, public policy and financial markets last Friday.

Natural gas suppliers use weather models to forecast demand. And if call it right, you make money, Meisel said.

He began by telling the Sunrise Rotary that meteorology is “more of an art than a science” and that “computers are always going to be wrong." But he said a person can make a difference when it comes to forecasting the weather.

“You need human intuition to really understand what’s going on, and that’s I’ve focused on,” Meisel said.

Meisel is a meteorologist and a graduate of Staples High School. This fall, he’ll be a junior at Harvard, where he's studying “how we can apply" the more meaningful weather forecasts "to the average person’s life.”

And he’s an entrepreneur and financial analyst who provides advice on temperature change to natural gas buyers and sellers.

Meisel became interested in meteorology as a youngster in Los Angeles — where today’s weather is most likely tomorrow’s weather. But when his family moved to Westport, he dove in. As an eighth-grader, Meisel said he “looked at his first weather model.”

He started his first business, swctweather.com , while in high school. He told subscribers whether schools would be close and what time a storm would make landfall — the things that matter to people.

As a Staples senior, Meisel added to his following by predicting landfall for Hurricane Sandy nine days before it hit, then backed it with similarly accurate winter snowstorm forecasts.

At Harvard, he’s a social studies major, pursuing a course of study that combines meteorology with economics and public policy.

“We as a society have to take weather more seriously. … The devastation of the New Jersey shore could have been preventable,” he said. But current legislation and insurance regulation favor economic development of these exposed areas, he said.

This summer, Meisel started another business, Bespoke Weather Services, where he’s focusing on the natural gas market, the one driven most by weather.

“I’m 19 years old, I’m just learning the business," he said. "But so far the service has been pretty successful as we’ve called almost all the moves in the natural gas market, both short- and long-term.”

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