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DarkSky
03-23-2011, 07:28 AM
OTTAWA — New funding of about $27 million over two years for Canada's weather monitoring service follows harsh criticism from within Environment Canada that sustained cuts had left its programs in a "disturbing" state.
"Accurate and timely forecasts and warnings are critical to the functioning of the Canadian economy, where businesses in many industries, including agriculture, tourism, transportation and forestry, are directly affected by weather conditions," the 2011 federal budget plan says.

Read more: http://www.canada.com/technology/Millions+allocated+weather+monitoring/4485393/story.html#ixzz1HQCqtsEs

Derecho
03-23-2011, 09:27 PM
Not to turn this political, but isn't this the same budget that the coalition rejected to bring down Harper's gov't?

Derecho
06-03-2011, 01:50 PM
I just emailed my MP to see if this is still going through.

Reffik
06-04-2011, 10:43 AM
My job (water resources engineer) sees me talking to the Weather Services a lot, usually for historic data (working out 100 year return period storms, or potential evaporation for long models, etc), and I have been getting the imprerssion from them that they are really hurting for cash.

Historical MET stations have been closing in big numbers: For example, I found out yesterday that in 1990, we had something like 50 stations tracking solar radiation (a big part of evap.), but by 2000 only 18 remained.

A few weeks ago, I went to a workshop on the effects of climate change on infrastructure projects (lesson: design for extreme events), and the speaker from Environment Canada suggested (and others told us flat out) that they were hurting for budget.

I've had similar problems too, like where we wanted data for Hamilton Airport, which they can't use until the QA/QC, and they said it basically would not have the data for lasy year (2010) until summer 2011. Or how the last time they did those estimates for the return period storms I mentioned (100 yrs, etc) was in 2003, despite the fact that those numbers are guidance numbers for the design of everything from storm sewers to bridges to roads.

I like that they're putting some more money into it, but the bottom line is that is that EC is substantialy undefunded as is. Playing around with the small money allocated (and I'm fairly certain the $13.5 million per year is being poached for off of other EC programs) isn't going to help.

http://www.canada.com/business/Federal+government+environmental+spending/4367709/story.html

Itchy
06-04-2011, 08:25 PM
I wan't to add another viewpoint into the mix, I think the general public is too reliant on warning systems etc to tell them what is going on with severe weather.... I believe people should learn enough basic knowledge on severe storms to be able to recognize threats on their own rather than rely on other systems..... their lack of knowledge at times we must remember also results in the bashing of the warning system even when it was justified A few times where London was put under a severe storm warning and had a storm graze North London's countryside people complained that it was sunny in downtown London..... I had to correct them saying there was a strong storm on the city's Northern side.......

Another problem that occurs in the states as well as ours is the reactive mentality with weather, no one cares until after the disaster happens ....... I have a VHS from the mid nineties predicting what would happen to new Orleans. No one listened , the Hurricane happened and people blamed bushy boy....... I found the entire situation very sad considering how surprised people acted.......Same is going on with tornado's as videos over a decade ago said as neighborhood grow over the plains the chances of violent tornadoes going through residential areas will increase over time.

With all the terrible things in the states that have happened we have still NOT seen the worst case scenario yet and it will happen eventually. One day a powerful tornado will tear through a downtown core and we will have a situation like that in say Bangladesh where over 1000 people died from a single tornado......


When it comes to weather I rely on myself for safety and nobody else




How about EC pays me 500 a week to spot weather 24/7 in the Middlesex region and be in charge of watches and warnings for the county as well

Derecho
06-04-2011, 09:53 PM
It can't be expected that everyone is going to wake up, have their morning coffee, let the dogs out, read the papers, then check the latest weather models.

I agree that some people don't understand how weather works, eg "omg it was raining on the highway then when I got off it wasn't!!", but we can't expect them, or force them, to monitor radar every time it rains.

The whole point of emergency public warning systems is to make everyone alert a very dangerous weather situation is in progress and may impact them. And a public warning system is one thing Canada lacks. No government wants to spend precious surplus tax payer dollars on tornado sirens or reverse 911 systems and barely any media or television/radio outlets have signed on to the Ontario Public Warning System(which continues to fail every time EMO tries to active it). Also, our own weather service refuses to be precise and location specific and would rather put tens of thousands of square kilometers under warnings for a very small storm that will impact less than 2% of the areas warned. Hence crying wolf almost every storm event and desensitizing the public to every warning.

These people, say upstream from a tornado warned supercell, who may hear between songs and commercials on the radio that a "tornado warning is in effect for this area - that area - this half the county. Tornadoes in the above regions will be possible" will look outside, see the sun, and continue on thinking "oh it's not here it never is, it's sunny again, those people never know what they are talking about" when in fact life threatening weather is approaching. That person is going to unknowingly put themselves in harms way and the outcome could be very unfortunate.

Also, it'll be extremely unfortunate for those who don't hear the warning. When it thunders, I'm sure most people don't whip open radar, turn on the weather network, and engage in active conversation with everyone discussing storm reports, etc. They probably look out the window, continue watching tv or cooking, and during the height of the storm they may look outside again. If we had sirens, those curious people would get warned when they peak out the door, or if there was a mandatory emergency alert system, their TV would be interrupted.

That's the thing that the United States understands, if you have no decent methods of warning, then hundreds will die. They instead have to be extremely attentive, precise, and use an army of warning methods to let everyone know their lives may be in danger. When you have those systems in place, people become more aware of threats they may face, and may better heed any scary weather better than the average Ontarian would.

davefootball123
06-06-2011, 06:37 PM
And then you get the people who are hit by the tornado or whatever natural disaster strikes them and they say "you never told me it was gonna be this bad" because they didnt heed the warning if there was any. I totaly agree that Environment Canada needs to learn how to warn a smaller area. Its not an extremley hard task to do. I do realize they have a very small budget compared to the NWS, however when they issue a warning they make the warning larger by adding 2 other areas in that are completely unnecessary. Another signifigant downside to EC is that there warnings lack basic structure, sometimes they are descriptive however many times there is inadequate information for people to make a possibly life saving decision whether to seek shelter or not, part of the reason why people dont listen to EC at all. The biggest fail is when there is a report of a funnel cloud and they issue a severe thunderstorm warning saying there may be some brief strong winds under the funnel. Really??

Derecho
06-07-2011, 01:17 PM
Indeed, $27million has been committed to Environment Canada Weather Offices over the next two years.

Jt's still a far cry short of the $900million/yr NWS budget, but it's a start ;)

DarkSky
06-07-2011, 02:30 PM
Before they even THINK of putting a penny towards warning systems, they have to completely focus on getting MUCh more accurate warnings. Carpet-bombing a wide area with warnings and having 90% of the warning areas not have severe weather renders ANY warning system useless. Nobody will heed the warning.

They could have enough money to pay an EC employee to personally knock on people's doors and tell them to get downstairs, but if the last handful of warnings were bogus, they'll just ignore it.

Put the money towards accuracy EC, ACCURACY! :)

Derecho
06-07-2011, 04:14 PM
Before they even THINK of putting a penny towards warning systems, they have to completely focus on getting MUCh more accurate warnings. Carpet-bombing a wide area with warnings and having 90% of the warning areas not have severe weather renders ANY warning system useless. Nobody will heed the warning.

They could have enough money to pay an EC employee to personally knock on people's doors and tell them to get downstairs, but if the last handful of warnings were bogus, they'll just ignore it.

Put the money towards accuracy EC, ACCURACY! :)

Yep, and that's what me MP even said, EC warnings and forecasts must be more accurate and timely. Hopefully this will be a brand new start.

obwan
06-07-2011, 04:26 PM
Jt's still a far cry short of the $900million/yr NWS budget, but it's a start

The U.S. system is Oceanic and Atmospheric, they handle everything to do with floods landslide and fires, they cover a broad range of situations.

EC only has to tell us if its going to rain and how hard, with their track record I can see why the government doesn't expand their responsibility. But must admit the could go a long way to improving the system we have in place.

StormJunkie
06-09-2011, 12:59 PM
New guy here,

One thing I have always found frustrating is the lack of information available from Environment Canada. Over the years, I've become more and more frustrated with their pre-written statements, which are always the same. The only thing that changes on their alerts are the numbers (ie. 2cm hail possible, wind gust up to 90km/h).

What is even more frustrating is that they don't really make radar imagery available. They seem to only have reflectivity images (not even sure if it's base or composite reflectivity images) and do not include base/storm relative velocity radar images. I'm not sure for the reason, but it's kind of annoying to have to lean on NWS radar images as the main source to determine things like rotation of storms in your area. We should be able to lean on our own country's system.

I don't mean to bash EC, but I have been truly frustrated with the lack of information that is accessible to the public. that's actually why I ended up here. Looking for more information on the June 8th "Tornado" in Hamilton. But that's a different subject. I hope that millions of dollars fixes this.

DarkSky
06-09-2011, 02:44 PM
New guy here,

One thing I have always found frustrating is the lack of information available from Environment Canada. Over the years, I've become more and more frustrated with their pre-written statements, which are always the same. The only thing that changes on their alerts are the numbers (ie. 2cm hail possible, wind gust up to 90km/h).

I think basically they're a template with only pertinent information changing.

What is even more frustrating is that they don't really make radar imagery available. They seem to only have reflectivity images (not even sure if it's base or composite reflectivity images) and do not include base/storm relative velocity radar images.

There's definitely not the quality or selection of free US sites available, but with that being said, there's free US sites available :) I have all the links I use up on a publicly accessible page here: http://www.ontariostorms.com/showthread.php?p=87#post87

Welcome to the board!

Derecho
06-14-2011, 12:21 AM
It's official!


Government earmarks $27 million to address crumbling weather service

http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/earmarks+address+crumbling+weather+service/4939429/story.html