Founded in July 2009, the Essex Weather Centre have established themselves as one of the leading independent weather forecasting and consultancy providers in the United Kingdom.
Located in Brentwood, we are a modern, forward thinking company who take time to understand each potential client's requirements. And once you become a client, our team will regularly check to see you are still getting the best possible service and will advise on any new products and services.
We also provide a free public forecasting service to the public of Essex. Following consultation with business owners, tourism bosses and local Government authorities in 2009, it was clear that Essex needed a local weather service which had to be unbiased and accessible to all.
Our web site went live in the autumn of 2009 and attracted a few dozen visitors each day. Forecasts were pretty basic - a graphical outlook for the next 5 days and the occasional warning of heavy rain.
Little changed during the spring and summer of 2010, visitor numbers picked up a little and we started to produce in-house text forecasts for each of the districts of Essex. Then December 2010 happened – the coldest month for over 100 years. Instead of around 50 visitors daily, we were serving hundreds every hour which resulted in the web site frequently overloading.
When the cold and snow finally eased in early January 2011, we rebuilt the structure of our web site and took procession of our first dedicated server. Traffic numbers continued throughout the year and health forecasts were introduced.
There was plenty of excitement during 2012; Olympic mountain bike events at Hadleigh Farm, white water activities in the Lee Valley and the hugely successful torch relay which travelled through Essex. The county also celebrated the Queens Diamond Jubilee which included street parties, a river pageant and music concerts. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the second wettest summer on record. With the inclement conditions, the Essex Weather Centre thrived and was now attracting attention of newspapers and radio stations who wanted to use our forecasts.
Snow and ice returned with a vengeance in February 2013, prompting the need to double the size of our server infrastructure. Hourly traffic levels were in the thousands, but our web site continued to deliver forecasts and advisories to both new and regular visitors. March saw unprecedented cold weather and ended up being the coldest since 1962. For the first time, we passed one million visitors in a single month with over three million page views.
A tidal surge led to coastal flooding in parts of North-East Essex on December 5th. The towns of Jaywick and Manningtree as well as Mersea Island saw large scale evacuations by the emergency services as high-tide approached. Thankfully, Essex was spared the worst with the surge arriving an hour early and computer models over-estimating sea level rises by nearly 3 feet.
Well rehearsed plans were put into place during the most serious coastal tidal surge for over 60 years and the Essex Weather Centre delivered live reporting through the night on social media and BBC local radio.
Web traffic reached new highs; a total of 86,109 hits were recorded with over 215,000 page views in a single 24 hour period. Our team assisted with dozens of enquiries from local residents who were holidaying abroad and those who had family in the affected areas. Social media proved to be the best way of providing updates from authorities and we quickly exceeded 10,000 new followers on Twitter.
The new year started as the previous one ended; unsettled and record-breaking for all of the wrong reasons. January was deemed 'the wettest winter month on record' by the Met Office with many parts of Essex receiving monthly rainfall totals over double the average. In particular, South-Western districts saw close to 250% of average and Southend-on-Sea recorded 155mm with rain falling on 29 days out of 31.
In July, we were one of the first independent weather companies to deliver public forecasting via a secure and encrypted connection. We also became fully PCI DSS compliant - the highest industry standard for securing online transactions.
In January, following feedback from site visitors, we extended the existing five day outlook to seven days. Sunrise and sunset times were also introduced alongside detailed weather and flood warnings Essex and East London.
It was the third snow-less winter in a row for many parts of Essex. Overall, winter 2015/16 was the second mildest on record with mean temperatures around 2C above average. Compared to the rest of the country which recorded the wettest winter ever, rainfall amounts locally were below the long term average.
The addition of rainfall radar and live lightning data to our site became a instant hit with vistors and on our social media.
A predicated tidal surge led to Jaywick being evacuated on January 12th along with many other nearby villages. Thankfully, levels forecast by the Environment Agency were not met and little in the way of flooding occurred.
Despite mean temperatures around average, most of Essex saw 10 consecutive days with ground frost during the second half of January as a continental Easterly flow affected South-East England. Rain turned to snow on the 12th with all areas seeing their first accumulating snow for several years. Sunshine amounts for the month were 132% when compared to the 1981-2010 regional average.
July saw the launch of our new fully responsive site. No matter how you access our site, mobile, tablet or PC, everything finally works as it should!