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March-April 2011

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On the Job: Jeff Masters

Co-founder of Weather Underground

Jeff Masters is the Co-Founder of Weather Underground, a Web site that delivers weather forecasts around the world, as well as meteorological information, historical data, and a host of fun stuff for the weather wise. Masters received his bachelor's and master's degrees in meteorology from the University of Michigan. After a seven-year stint as a Hurricane Hunter, he returned to the University of Michigan for his Ph.D. While working on his doctorate, Masters wrote a menu-based telnet interface to display real-time weather information around the world. It was a first step in what led him to co-found one of the most popular Web sites in the world.

What was the state of the World Wide Web back in 1995 when you co-founded Weather Underground?

It was just a brand new emerging technology and a lot of people really didn't see the potential. We were pretty confident we were onto something big. We were some of the people who really helped first push the Internet and help make it what it is. Because weather is something so time-dependent and critical for people, it really made sense to use the Internet to get weather information. Weather was one of the first big reasons people came to the Internet, and we were certainly one of the pioneers in getting weather information out on the Internet.

KIMBRA CUTLIP is a freelance writer and former assistant editor for Weatherwise.

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