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Posted at 04:30 PM ET, 03/11/2011

Joe Bastardi hired by start-up firm WeatherBell

Bastardi joins renowned forecaster Joseph D'Aleo

Less than three weeks after resigning as AccuWeather’s chief long-range forecaster, Joe Bastardi announced Friday that he has accepted the position of chief forecaster at WeatherBell, a fledgling weather consulting firm.

WeatherBell has also hired veteran meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo, who served as the Weather Channel’s first director of meteorology.

Based in New York City, WeatherBell Analytics LLC will offer meteorological products and services geared toward helping businesses manage weather risk. The company is funded entirely by angel investors.

Chief executive officer Michael Barak said the name of company was inspired by someone close to him.

The company will target the financial, agriculture, and energy sectors, said Barak. It intends to leverage the forecasting talents of Bastardi and D’Aleo to help businesses in these sectors make the best decisions, he said.

“We will provide the most accurate forecasts anywhere, and because of this our clients will be able to adjust their business strategy and maximize profits,” said Barak.

WeatherBell has partnered with Skyline Software Systems, Inc., a 3D geospatial visualization software and services company based in Chantilly, Va. Skyline’s suite of web-based software will allow WeatherBell customers to fuse their own data with weather data and forecasts.

Barak, 27, previously worked as a vice president at an aerospace engineering firm. Although he has had a passion for weather since childhood, he is not a meteorologist and stressed that Bastardi will be given complete independence in developing his forecasts.

“Joe will have unlimited freedom at WeatherBell, and you can expect to see that enthusiastic bold forecaster many of us have followed for years,” he said.

Bastardi says he is relishing the opportunity to help build a new forecasting enterprise.

“WeatherBell will give me the chance to display my ability and my good name in the way I am most suited,” he said. “I look forward to building from the ground up an operation that will become the standard in private sector forecasting.”

Bastardi said it was a “difficult decision” to leave AccuWeather after 33 years without providing reasons for his departure.

“I wish my former employer well just as they have wished me well, but I would like to keep my reasons for leaving private,” he said.

While at AccuWeather, Bastardi developed a large following on AccuWeather’s subscription-based “Pro site” featuring blog commentary and video discussions.

Barak said WeatherBell will also have a subscription-based site where Bastardi will provide forecast commentaries and video. Bastardi’s first blog posts for WeatherBell are now available. D’Aleo has also published his initial blog post on the WeatherBell website.

During his tenure at AccuWeather, Bastardi was also a frequent guest on Fox News where he discussed not only weather but his skeptical position on global warming. Barak said Bastardi as well as D’Aleo would be free to do television appearances and speak their mind but emphasized WeatherBell is “not a media company.”

Barak is well aware of Bastardi’s controversial position on global warming not to mention D’Aleo’s, who independently runs the skeptic website Icecap.us. Barak said his company does not have a position on the issue and will not interfere with either Bastardi’s or D’Aleo’s opinions.

By  |  04:30 PM ET, 03/11/2011

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