Wednesday, February 04, 2009

You're doing it wrong....again

Yes, there is a certain weariness when it comes to writing about Environment Canada's incompetence and reading about it all the time. Still, there is something remarkable about seeing something so poorly done on a regular basis.

Environment Canada called for a blizzard for Iqaluit today. The call started more than 24 hours ago and they remained steadfast that a blizzard was coming. When I went to bed last night, the last update was for around 10 p.m. and they were saying "Yessir, there's a blizzard coming."

Cathy wakes up at 5:30 this morning, notices a distinct lack of howling winds and mild swaying of the building and looks out the window. Clear as a bell. Checks the Environment Canada website, no blizzard warning. As I write this, several hours later, it is perfectly nice day out. Sunny and cold, much the same way as it has been for days now.

I should have known nothing was going to happen because coming home yesterday for lunch we ran into an older Inuk lady who said she didn't think there was going to be a blizzard because it felt too cold. Lo and behold...

You know, someone should do an Inuit Elder Weather Forecasting website. I would believe their predictions much sooner than Environment Canada's. Plus, I have no doubt they would be right more often. I think I could do a better job sacrificing a siksik and reading its entrails to predict the weather (yes, there are no siksiks in Iqaluit. It's a rant. Roll with me here) than whatever method Environment Canada is using.

Environment Canada can predict cold and sunny with stunning accuracy. Congratulations. Alter that forecast in the slightest and they completely fuck it up more often than not. Understand, I wouldn't be as irate if the weather was miserable here today, but not a blizzard. Then you could go "Oh well, they just missed the intensity of the storm a bit, but it's still not nice out."

It's sunny here today! They missed it completely. This is the equivalent of swinging at the ball before it's left the pitcher's hand. Environment Canada seriously needs to do something to improve it's weather services in this part of the world because it is wretched as it stands. I'd say people will die because of this, except I'm pretty sure they already have. The question is, how many more do you want before you fix things up here.

Because one of these days they're going to predict sunny weather in the morning and a blizzard is going to spring up from "nowhere" and there are going to be people out on the land in serious trouble.

Time to get your act together, kids.

Last Five
1. Milk - Kings of Leon
2. Pride (In the name of love)(live) - U2
3. Hollow - Sean Panting*
4. Home I'll never be - Tom Waits
5. Don't tear me up - Mick Jagger


Jackie S. Quire said...

No, you are completely right. Especially about it eventually causing a fatal problem.

It makes you wonder... how long can certain services just run along at barely acceptable before they hurt someone.

And this goes not just for EC but for run-down or badly needed facilities in communities across Nunavut.

(Word verification is "rustic" ... coincidence or is Blogger just crazy smart?)

The Perfect Storm said...

One of my favourie definitions of a Monday in Toronto? "A sunny day after two days of rain".

Forecasters are notorious in the Toronto area for telling us on a Monday that next weekend will look "just great - sun all weekend".

My Wednesday they will be saying that it might be a partly cloudy by the weekend, but then "just great - sun the rest of the weekend".

By Friday they will be telling us that there might be scattered showers, but then! "clearing up by the weekend and sunny into next week".

Of course, the "sunny" breaks out come Monday morning after unrelenting rain Saturday and Sunday. Everything planned goes on hold awaiting the next weekend's "sun".

This has been going on for as long as I can remember I've lived here - over 25 years now.

Between economists and weather forecasters I think we've all chosen the wrong professions.


Aida said...

EC is pretty accurate when it comes to blizzards here. one heck of a blizzard out there and if i am counting this right, our 9th of the year yet. and for now their 0km visibility is correct since i cant see the house across from ours!

Jennith said...

I think we got your blizzard here in Baker Lake. Its pretty bad here, not so much windy as it is poor visibility.

Way Way Up said...

As far as I know, Arctic Bay doesn't even have its own weather reporting station. EC simply uses the one out at the airport in Nanisivik for both places. The problem is that the airport is a few hundred meters above sea level on the side of a mountain and Arctic Bay is pretty much right at sea level. I've left AB in clear weather only to bump into fierce blizzard-like conditions half way to the airport. It's partially amusing but also very aggravating when you are trying to catch a flight. Luckily, we should have our own weather reporting station (knock on wood) when the new airport opens on the other the side of the bay here.

Mireille Sampson said...

Well Craig, there's a new challenge for you: get the elders together and you create a website and show/help them how to run it. Cathy's class can track the accuracy rates of the elders and EC, & when it turns out the elders have a better record, hit up EC for money to run the site and pay the employees.

EC is god at predicting cold & sunny weather in the arctic, economic forecasters are good at predicting stable growth in good times. At least the latter are being down-sized & losing bonuses. Maybe they'll get jobs at EC now.