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  ABOUT TROPMET.COM
   
Tropmet.com - 2010  

TROPMET.COM is a website dedicated to hurricanes, tropical cyclones, tropical meteorology, severe weather and storm-chasing. TROPMET.COM is owned and solely maintained by veteran storm chaser, Michael Laca.

TROPMET.COM is the evolution of a company (Tropmet, Inc.) that was founded and incorporated by Michael Laca in 1991. The purpose of this company is to provide services and disseminate information on tropical cyclones and other forms of severe weather,  to the public, as quickly as possible.

Before the evolution of the internet, TROPMET.COM had its genesis when amateur meteorologist Michael Laca teamed with professional meteorologist Marc Mailhot in 1984 to co-author a column, 'Tropical Topics', for a National periodical on meteorology, "The American Weather Observer". From 1984-1986, both Laca and Mailhot wrote numerous articles and specials for the "American Weather Observer" and received many letters from individual subscribers, who wanted more data and information than the monthly articles could provide. With this, Laca and Mailhot began the "Storm Record Center" in 1986, with the sole purpose of publishing detailed reports and monthly summaries on all Atlantic-basin tropical systems. These reports would then be distributed to a subscriber list.

From 1986-1988 the Storm Records Center was very successful and provided detailed reports on all Atlantic tropical systems to it's subscribers.  In 1989, with the advent of dial-up weather service providers, such as AccuWeather, delivering real-time data,  the necessity for the more traditional subscription services waned and the Storm Records Center ceased operation.

By late 1990 new types of weather data were becoming readily available  through the infant Internet, with service providers like CompuServe and America Online providing quick and reliable, though limited, meteorological data. It was at this time that Michael Laca decided to revive the defunct Storm Records Center operations under a new name, "TROPMET",  which is a combination of the words TROPical METeorology. The core purpose of this new entity would be to provide much more detailed information on tropical cyclones and hurricanes than available through any of the services at the time.

In addition, by 1991 Michael Laca's storm-chasing career had blossomed and there was a large library of amazing hurricane footage that was available for both the public and media. TROPMET would also serve as the vehicle to make these videos available to end users.

TROPMET, Inc. was incorporated in late 1991 and work began on developing a strategy to provide digital information to subscribers. Initially, TROPMET existed as an  extension of Michael Laca's online accounts, with a monthly newsletter being published electronically. As the emerging Internet grew, more and more providers, meteorologists and storm-chasers began making their information and photos available. By late 1995, TROPMET had grown into a large collection of links providing users with a portal into the online world of meteorology and storm chasing.

In 1996, Michael Laca began to separate TROPMET, the portal, from its host service providers and create a stand-alone site for its visitors. The result was one of the Internet's first websites dedicated to tropical meteorology, hurricanes and storm-chasing. The 1996 TROPMET retained it's "portal" feel, but was presented with a 2nd generation web design (incorporating both image mapping and text links) and stood apart from similar sites at that time.

In 1999, TROPMET received its first major overhaul and site redesign, incorporating many new areas and hundreds of additional links and resources for users. The site also began incorporating e-commerce elements by using Amazon.com's partnership linking program to sell meteorological and hurricane related books.

Finally in 2001, TROPMET ONLINE was born when the domain name TROPMET.COM was secured. For the first time since being founded ten years prior, TROPMET was now truly its own entity. The occasion was marked with a complete redesign of the site bringing more design elements into play and introducing the classic theme of the four elements (Air, Earth, Fire and Water) into the design. The content was also expanded and for the first time, streaming video was introduced, allowing users to experience hurricane, and other storm chasing videos, on demand. The e-commerce engine was also expanded in conjunction with a PayPal affiliation, allowing TROPMET ONLINE's hurricane chase videos to be purchased by site visitors. The site also began hosting and presenting it's own articles and stories.

In 2003, TROPMET ONLINE had its next major redesign. After several years of collecting and analyzing metrics on the site, TROPMET ONLINE was streamlined to present users with more relevant information, up front. The site structure was reorganized and a clean three-column, "white space" look was applied. Moving away from the "elements" design, a tone on tone color palate was used to accentuate a single hero image in the header bar. With the large areas of white space, the site took on a crisp and clean feel. The other significant change was the incorporation of syndicated content from 3rd party weather providers. Satellite and radar imagery, as well as alpha-numeric weather products were now made available, in real-time, directly on TROPMET ONLINE... shifting the site from a pure "portal" to more of a direct informational provider.

In 2006, after 15 years of development, the site was renamed TROPMET.COM to capitalize on the equity that had developed around the URL. In conjunction with this renaming, the site was redesigned and re-launched with its current look and feel. With many years of visitor data available, the site has continued to become more refined, catering to the specific needs of its audience. More detailed information has been added, while less relevant information has been removed. The site's archive section has grown and more historical hurricane data has been added. TROPMET.COM's image galleries and storm chasing sections have also been expanded. With the recent advent of video hosting services such as YouTube.com, more reliable streaming video content is now available on TROPMET.COM.

From September, 2001 through July 2013, WUsage metrics indicate that TROPMET.COM has been accessed 12,438,370 times, from 1,123,943 unique visitors. The average user examines 10.9 pages during their visit. Since its re-launch in 2006, TROPMET.COM has been receiving an average of 3,470 daily accesses.

 

   
Tropmet.com - 2006  
   
Tropmet Online - 2003  
   
Tropmet Online - 2001  
   
Tropmet - 1999  
   
Tropmet - 1996  
   
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