Good fore­cast for weather watch­ers as page re-opens

The Oban Times - - News - MON­ICA GLEN mglen@oban­times.co.uk

Tech­nol­ogy has made the whole thing pos­si­ble Lee Schofield Founder of High­lands and Is­lands Weather

A SO­CIAL me­dia page pro­vid­ing ac­cu­rate Lochaber weather fore­casts has risen from the ashes af­ter it fell vic­tim to an on­line scam.

Un­til last Fri­day, Face­book page ‘High­lands and Is­lands Weather’ had around 78,000 fol­low­ers.

Set up by data an­a­lyst Lee Schofield three years ago, the page was de­signed to pro­vide ac­cu­rate lo­cal weather fore­casts for the area.

Pop­u­lar­ity of the page had grown rapidly, even at­tract­ing world­wide at­ten­tion. Last week, how­ever, Lee lost the page com­pletely. The fa­ther of one told The

Oban Times: ‘As the page started get­ting more and more likes, I be­gan to re­ceive of­fers from busi­nesses want­ing to buy it from me but I told them ‘no it’s not for sale’.

‘But last Fri­day, Fe­bru­ary 3, when I was busy do­ing a few things at once, I re­ceived a mes­sage which seemed to be le­git ask­ing to check my de­tails. I fol­lowed the in­struc­tions but the next morn­ing the page was gone. Who­ever it was had taken own­er­ship of the account, changed all my de­tails and that was that. I’ve con­tacted Face­book but have heard noth­ing.’

De­scrib­ing him­self as be­ing ‘data driven’, Lee claims the great storm in 1987 ce­mented his in­ter­est in me­te­o­rol­ogy but it wasn’t un­til he moved to Scot­land that he de­cided to try and fore­cast to the masses.

‘I have al­ways had an in­ter­est in weather,’ he said. ‘Even as a young­ster I kept records and was fas­ci­nated by it. It got to the stage so many peo­ple were ask­ing me for the fore­cast and for my thoughts I de­cided to cre­ate an on­line page to share my find­ings with ev­ery­one.’

For his page to func­tion, Lee has cre­ated more than 40 weather sta­tions around the High­lands and Scot­land which he main­tains has mostly self funded.

He said: ‘There is one on Eigg, sev­eral on Skye and one in Cor­pach to name but a few. Peo­ple in Scot­land love to talk about the weather but in these parts it is more than that. I am con­tacted by peo­ple from the US, lots of tourists who are plan­ning a trip and want to know what to ex­pect or when best to travel. Sim­i­larly, lo­cals get in touch be­fore hav­ing to drive here or there and they find the in­for­ma­tion use­ful.’

Dis­heart­ened by los­ing three years of posts, hard work, time and fol­low­ers, Lee said he was tempted just to for­get the whole pro­ject. How­ever, the 43-yearold de­cided to start afresh and his ef­forts were re­warded as in just a few days he once again racked up more than 10,000 fol­low­ers, mostly re­turn­ing and some new.

He added: ‘ When you have peo­ple who are go­ing to be buy­ing boat tick­ets and go­ing out walk­ing I guess the in­ter­est in weather takes on such a greater im­por­tance.

‘Tech­nol­ogy has made the whole thing pos­si­ble. I re­li­giously check the sta­tions re­motely be­tween 8am and 9am ev­ery morn­ing, dur­ing the day and in the evening. I work from home, so I am able to do that.

‘I am very data driven. Fig­ures and anal­y­sis are al­ways in my head and I en­joy do­ing it. I re­ceived so many mes­sages from var­i­ous peo­ple say­ing how sorry they were the old page has gone. I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate so many have al­ready man­aged to find me again. It makes the whole thing worth­while.’

Lee Schofield has brought Face­book page High­lands and Is­lands Weather back from the ashes af­ter it was hacked.

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