Scoring a total of 59 points, NC State is the winner of AtmoLife’s inaugural AtmoCup competition! Assuming we get around to engraving the trophy this week, the Wolfpack will soon have this shiny new hardware to proudly display in Jordan Hall.

Jordan Hall is the building where NC State’s Atmospheric Science department is headquartered. We Googled it.

There isn’t a group more deserving of the 2017 trophy than the meteorology students/grads from Raleigh. While they fought a neck-and-neck battle down the stretch with Colorado State, NC State maintained the largest and most fervent group of participants throughout the competition. We mean this as no disrespect to CSU, who claimed a few fantastic storms of their own, but the Ft. Collins crew scored the bulk of their points by dominating the WxChallenge in which most of those participants were likely unaware of the AtmoCup’s existence in the first place. Without NC State, we’d have a difficult time declaring the first iteration of our competition a success, so thanks for constantly fueling the AtmoCup with excitement. Y’all definitely turned plenty of heads elsewhere, especially late in the season, and we have no doubt that your dedication will lead to increased participation from other universities during the 2018 AtmoCup. This means you’ll need to step up your game if you want to defend your title.


3st Place Medal – NC State

Not a real award and not my real hand.

Although NC State already racked up the most AtmoCup points during our 6-month competition, they’d have earned a lot more if we’d caved into their constant pandering. Thankfully at AtmoLife, we created an achievement for the most impressively desperate pandering. In addition to our very real 2017 AtmoCup Trophy, NC State will take home our very hypothetical 3st place medal.

This medal has bounced around throughout the competition, as it is awarded at our discretion to the university most recently guilty of excessive pandering. NC State earned the medal early on, only to have Texas A&M swoop in. A late surge by Colorado State in the AtmoCup point standings however, triggered NC State into desperation mode, which paid off for them winning both awards.

The Rochelle Achievement – Brandon Black (@Brandonmasters3 NC State)

There’s a reason why these schools pander for AtmoCup points. We encourage it. Also at our discretion, we award bonus points for the more creative pandering. The Rochelle Achievement, named after the famous E-F4 tornado that many folks in meteorology commonly exalt with a bonus Fujita Scale point, is awarded to the AtmoCup participant with the most creatively earned bonus point.

This year’s Rochelle Achievement, which is also hypothetical aside from online recognition, is presented to Brandon Black of NC State for giving us a sweet weather balloon shout out!

The Bettes Award – Danny Rodriguez (@thebigdrod, Colorado College)

The top individual point scorer of our 2017 competition takes home another piece of our hypothetical hardware. Named after the well known meteorologist (famous for running in front of my moving vehicle on a dirt road during a May 30th, 2013 storm chase) the winner of this award displays a consistent and possibly aggressive zeal for mother nature.

Accounting for all 16 of Colorado College’s AtmoCup points via storm claiming, Instagram challenge victories, and bonus points, Danny Rodriguez single-handedly boosted Colorado College to 6th place in the standings.


Storm Claiming

Having participants send us storm photos and videos was by far the most rewarding part of the AtmoCup from our viewpoint. Some of y’all made great forecasts to hunt down these storms, while others of you happened to be in the right place at the right time. Either way, we really enjoyed seeing you immersed with the atmospheric conditions that enticed you to the field of meteorology in the first place. We’re also proud of the fact that our claimable storms included more than just tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. With a plethora of claimable phenomena, including but not limited to ice storms, blizzards, haboobs, turning-around-and-not-drowning, universities from all parts of the country had plenty of opportunities to rack up points.

NCAA Bracket Challenge

As we mentioned in the introduction for our competition, accurately predicting the one thing more chaotic than the weather is something to be proud of. It seemed that many of you agreed, as our AtmoLife bracket group garnered more than 40 participants. Plus, March Madness is fun as hell, and you hate America if you think otherwise.


Less Weight on WxChallenge

We considered creating our own forecast challenge for the AtmoCup, but why try something that another agency already does an excellent job of when we can easily incorporate it into our own scores? The downside to incorporating a well established program relates to what we mentioned about Colorado State. A lot of WxChallenge scoring comes from people who may not even be aware of our competition. Perhaps this will change if the AtmoCup (and hopefully AtmoLife) become more well known, but in the near-future, we’ll need to cut back on the amount of WxChallenge points awarded.

Scrap/Reform the Weekly Instagram Challenge

In addition to receiving hit or miss participation, The Weekly Instagram Challenge found itself embedded in a recurring column that we got tired of producing (thanks to a poor click-to-writing-effort ratio). Furthermore, the purpose of this weekly challenge was to grow our footprint on Instagram. Although we attracted more followers to this platform, we’re not very Instagram savvy and have no idea what to post on there now. Finding a greater purpose to our Instagram account along with an easier delivery mechanism for the weekly competition will be key to keeping this component of the AtmoCup afloat in 2018.

Shorter Season

Promoting a silly competition for 6 entire months requires entirely too much effort on our end. By June, just about everyone beside NC State and Danny Rodriguez had seemingly lost interest. Next year we’ll commence the 2018 AtmoCup on the 1st day of the Spring WxChallenge (End of January) and abruptly conclude the competition at 0z June 1st. This shaves nearly 2 months off the competition and gives schools a better shot of finishing strong during the meaty part of tornado season. Perhaps we’ll even see a Hail Mary scenario where a university down 2 points will spot and claim a tornado at 21z on May 31.


What were your favorite and least favorite parts of the competition?

Did you feel that any components of the AtmoCup put your school at an unfair disadvantage?

Are there any new means for scoring points that you’d like to see added next year?

Please let us know your thoughts! Smash that contact button or @ us on twitter, and let your voice be heard!


1. North Carolina State University – 59 Points
2. Colorado State University – 58 Points
3. SUNY Albany – 49 Points
4. Penn State University – 33 Points
5. The University of Oklahoma – 19 Points
T6. Colorado College – 16 Points
T6. Ball State University – 16 Points
8. Indiana University – 13 Points
9. THE Ohio State University – 11 Points
T10. University of Washington – 10 Points
T10. Rock Valley College – 10 Points
T12. San Jose State University – 9 Points
T12. Purdue University – 9 Points
14. Texas Tech University – 8 Points
T15. Texas A&M University – 7 Points
T15. University of Maryland – 7 Points
T17. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – 6 Points
T17. Georgia Tech University – 6 Points
19. College of DuPage – 5 Points
T20. University of Illinois – 3 Points
T20. UNC Charlotte – 3 Points
T20. The University of Utah – 3 Points
T20. The University of Kansas – 3 Points
T20. Arizona State University – 3 Points
T20. University of Northern Colorado – 3 Points
T20. Hobart and William Smith Colleges – 3 Points
T27. McGill University (In Canada!) – 2 Points
T27. Rowan University – 2 Points
T27. SUNY Oneonta – 2 Points
T27. Lansing Community College – 2 Points
T27. University of Massachusetts – Lowell – 2 Points
T27. Oregon State University – 2 Points
T27. Virginia Tech University – 2 Points
T34. The University of Virginia – 1 Point
T34. Lyndon State University – 1 Point
T34. Northland College – 1 Point
T34. Western Illinois University – 1 Point
T34. Florida State University – 1 Point
T34. Mississippi State University – 1 Point
T34. University of Michigan – 1 Point
T41. Everybody else – 0 Points

Thanks for getting out there and scoring some dang points!