I want to get this out there because of late I have heard much chatter about the role and influence of social media, amateur weather sites, and official weather from Environment Canada, and elsewhere.
You should never trust anything on this website, or any other non-Environment Canada or non-Government Agency website to be official, accurate, or expert analysis of the weather. Period.
I am not an expert. I am not even trained in any way to analyze the weather. All I am is a regular person like you, who’s a little geeky about the weather, likes it a lot, and tries to make sense of a ton of information in a way that makes sense to Me. No matter if it is tweeted, facebooked or blogged. It’s not authoritative, unless it comes from Environment Canada.
Now that might sound defensive, but it’s not meant to. It’s just a statement of fact. And it’s one I think all amateur weather bloggers like myself should recognize and blog readers should remember. I’ve conversed with a lot of local and not so local bloggers and I think they implicitly recognize this. But sometimes I think it is worth repeating publicly both so the people who read the blogs and use it to help them plan their day know exactly what they are reading, and also so the bloggers remember who they are, and especially, who they are not.
Environment Canada does excellent work. They are the authority for a reason. They have the resources (though dwindling), they have the expertise, and they have the reach to be able to get the best possible prediction about the weather to as many people as possible.
That is why the Environment Canada forecast is at the very top of every page of this site. They are the authority. That is what people should see first when they go to any Canadian weather blog.
Now lots of people love to hate Environment Canada… Some say their forecasts aren’t as good as some other forecast… Or that their forecasts aren’t as quick or as responsive as other sources, including this one. But they aren’t just sitting on a bus with an iPad checking a single website to make their forecasts. They have a huge array of tools at their disposal and many minds to be able to come to a consensus from all those varied sources so as to inform everyone from the BC Ambulance Service, to TV Stations, to us, the public, on what is happening.
If there is any complaint that I have of Environment Canada it is that they so obviously don’t have as many resources as they used to and need. There should be more local, fully staffed weather offices. There should be more local fully sensored weather stations. There should be more radar (particularly on the West Coast of Vancouver Island) and better satellite coverage to include in their models and their observations.
I think one of the best things Environment Canada has done recently is use the #bcstorm hashtag on twitter to solicit immediate feedback on current weather. I know they have used it to make quick forecast or warning updates, and that is really commendable when they are in the thick of a major weather event.
So take a moment right now to think about the meteorologists and climatologists working right at this minute across the country to figure out the weather. Their work is meant to save lives and no doubt it does. And I wouldn’t enjoy this so much and be blogging to you to today were it not for their work and the work of their past colleagues (Stu in Alberni!).
Now let’s see some snow! 😉