The forecast has turned decidedly wetter. You can expect drizzle today and rain through the week. This isn’t really a bad thing since up until today we have only received 104mm of the 238mm considered normal for January.
November, December, January and February are ranked 1-4 as our wettest months. (Including snow)
Even though February is one of our wettest, it is also traditionally where we get our break from the constant pounding of rain through the previous three months. I wonder though if this year that break came a little earlier than usual. Now that we are going into a rainier pattern it might be a while before we see any of those last cool, crisp sunny days until late February. And if we have to wait that long we might just end up going straight into Spring warmth.
Speaking of warmth, you won’t see any from Environment Canada’s Port Alberni Airport station. It has been showing this for the past couple days:
It appears the station out there is either broken or not reporting to the website. This brings up another point, if you check the weather through 3rd party websites (especially American ones) or through Apps on your iPhone or Android device, have you ever noticed that the current conditions and forecasts are often wildly different than either what I have here or what EC is showing at the Airport?
That is because the Airport station is not an internationally registered station. So instead, many websites just do the best they can by finding the ‘nearest’ station. Unfortunately, because our climate around here varies widely due to geography, those nearest stations and forecasts rarely correespond to our actual weather. In fact, I’ve found the most common station used for Port Alberni conditions and forecasts (from, say, weather.com) is Comox Airport, or worse, Sisters Island Lighthouse. Hardly representative.
Even the Canadian ‘Weather Network’ can be a little suspect at times with forecasts that are quite different than the Environment Canada ones, but I suspect that might have more to do with a lack of local knowledge at the head office in Toronto and an over reliance on general models. But they are still light years ahead of international services and they do use the full range of Environment Canada stations including ours at the Airport of course.
So bottom line here is if use the resources you know for sure is here and local. Use the Environment Canada website, this website, the Islandweather.ca website. All provide the most accurate and most local conditions and forecasts available.