Watch the video of Nathan Foy below.
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Twenty-four-year-old Nathan Foy has a website called Force Thirteen. It provides live coverage and updates of incoming, hurricanes, cyclones and storms to roughly 30,000 watchers around the globe. He manages a team of 20 volunteers that provide this critical service to an audience that includes aid workers and refugees fleeing storms who rely on this crucial service to save lives. And he does all of this from his bedroom in Leigh, Wigan.
It would be hard to imagine that Nathan is autistic and that he only mustered enough courage to speak to strangers when he hit his twenties.
Nathan said: “It was an idea I had about eight years ago, it all started in my bedroom.
“It’s all self-taught, it just began as my interest and people kept telling me I should do more with it. I never expected it to get this big.
“We reach millions of people per year so they’re all potentially lives changed if not saved.
“When we provide updates to countries with fewer media countries and the message is passed on, that saves more people.
“I certainly think we have made a huge difference.
“Most recently in the early part of this year, during the cyclone in Mozambique, we helped humanitarian workers to prepare for what was going to happen.”
Most of Nathan’s followers are in the Philippines, Mauritius, and Mozambique where timely updates on a storm’s progress give aid workers enough information to decide when residents should flee an area.
Nathan and his team study current conditions to determine how likely they are to develop into storms and provide these live weather reports online.
When he left school at 14, Nathan had to deal with depression and anxiety. Despite being diagnosed with autism in 2008, he never let his condition hold him back.
He said: “The example I want to set is that I don’t let autism define me in a negative way.
“I do this to show people who are in a similar situation to me that they can get through it
“I used to be too scared to talk to strangers, and now I’m confident enough to stand in front of a camera.
“It shows that people like me can make it, it just takes time to adapt.
“People can still watch my old videos when I was starting out and the confidence difference is quite immense.
“Over time I’ve been able to establish and manage a team who all have their own personalities too, and I’m still getting better every day.
“The experience has changed me – I have dealt with many things with my mental health including depression, which really made things difficult for many years.
“I also had serious confidence issues and anxiety which I didn’t really overcome until a few years ago.
“When I think about where I might be if I didn’t take on the storm hunting work, it has definitely made me a more capable person.”
Nathan is technically jobless and spends all his time with storm watching while he lives with his parents Fiona and Keith at an annex in their garden.
Apart from weather prediction, Nathan also makes animations of previous storms which he features on his YouTube channel. Some of these animations have even appeared on CNN and the International Space Station.