Sources of Weather Information by Peter Jordan
Here’s a few places on the Internet to get weather forecasts, or data on weather that’s just happened. Everyone knows the Environment Canada weather forecast site, but there are a few more.
The US National Weather Service puts out a map-based forecast that includes the Columbia River basin, which therefore includes our little part of Canada. http://www.nwrfc.noaa.gov/weather/10_day.cgi It gives maps of forecast precipitation, freezing level, and maximum & minimum temperatures, every day for the next 10 days. (The 10-day forecast is probably no better than the Farmers Almanac or your grandmother’s bunion, but it’s there if you want it.) The main value of this forecast is the freezing levels, which the Meterological Service of Canada apparently considers a military secret. Unfortunately the site only gives the data in Imperial (or American, now there’s a contradiction) units.
This winter the data from the BC Highways weather stations have been available (finally) along with the highway cams. http://www.drivebc.com/ or http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/bchighwaycam/index.aspx
If on the Drive BC site, on the menu on the left you go to “weather information” (http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/weather/) you will get a map – zoom in on this, and click on any of the stations – there are many that are not at highway cam sites. The data are not that reliable, especially precipitation, but it’s a good way to get a more or less current temperature at useful destinations such as Strawberry Pass.
The BC Ministry of Environment has for many years collected snow survey data, and operated a number of snow pillow stations. (A snow pillow is like a giant inner tube without a hole, that is full of antifreeze and water, and is equipped with a recording device that measures the pressure inside, which is the same as the water equivalent or weight of the snowpack. The stations include other measurements too such as temperature and precipitation, and sometimes snow depth.) The data are available at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/rfc/. There is quite a variety of data available on this site. A useful link to follow is the “near realtime data”, and go to the “aardvark” page. (http://a100.gov.bc.ca/pub/aspr/). This is not the easiest site to use, but once you figure it out, you can get an hourly graph of the snow water equivalent, temperature, etc up to last night, for any of the stations. Around here, the most useful station is Redfish Creek. Data are (usually) downloaded by satellite once per day around midnight to 6 AM. Another useful link is the “snow pillow graphs”, where you can get a graph of the snow water equivalent for the whole winter, compared with other years.