Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Weather coverage - a rant on disparities

It is so difficult getting accurate weather forecasts AND weather conditions up here in Central Ontario!

On the right is the CITY News current temperatures, showing North Bay at 8 ˚ C., which is a bit brisk!

Not bad, a nice bit of coverage for South and Central Ontario. We're south of North Bay, and there is a large undocumented area...but...

What amazes me is that while CBC Toronto (CBC= Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), on my tax dollar, claims they cannot cover our weather in their 6 p.m. forecasts (I have asked!),
Boston News can. North Bay: 64 ˚!

You can see it! Clearly. Not a problem. Boston knows that many people drive north to Central Ontario. We have hundreds of thousands of visitors.

It is amazing how easy it is... In the CBC screen shot, Muskoka is somewhere under the red bar, near the 'R' in RIGHT NOW. The forecast explains the subtle differences between Toronto city and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The differences are usually one degree. How difficult is it to at least post a temperature for Central Ontario? We have no other local stations.

The Marine Forecast is featured on a Friday night, when many boaters are already on the road on the Highway #400 parking lot trying to make their way north.

At the left are the cities where CBC had coverage. What an insult to the less urban regions of Ontario. CBC features Thunder Bay, Toronto and Ottawa, and leave out the Central parts of the province. In fact, the Thunder Bay site often includes much about Toronto and little about us down here.

It is quite humorous to listen to weather forecasts on CBC. There are no other choices for news, radio stations or other data. It appears that we are not part of their 'listening area'. For example, one morning at 7:30 they claimed temperatures in the listening area in the low 20s, but our overnight temperature was 15˚ Celsius. We get London, Ontario, 'regional newscasts', although I do like hearing about traffic jams in the big city. It makes the bugs on May/June worth it! Peterborough has its own coverage with a regional reporter, but so much Muskoka.

'Normal' temperatures for Muskoka are 16˚ in June with average overnight temperatures being 9˚. We were above that one 2008 June day, with a storm coming up from the US bringing a warm front. The temperatures really vary.

The Globe & Mail covers 'Ontario'. The Toronto Star's web page (bless them, too!) includes information for Toronto & GTA, plus a page for Ontario. Apparently, to the CBC, Ontario, Canada, consists of Ottawa, Windsor and Toronto: with nothing in between.

A winter forecast: Here we are, still getting snow. The weather network says "isolated flurries", my butt! Below zero temperatures - I put on a fire in the wood stove.

It dumped snow that day! See: Numb in November!

We are collateral damage, methinks. The Lake Effect snow (see the Environment Canada image at right) occurs from winds whipping across the lakes, picking up moisture and letting us have it!

If you are travelling to Muskoka, check out the fabulous Webcams that show what is truly going on around Central Ontario. The big corporations do not really care about us up here in Central Ontario!

You can check out Road Conditions here across the province. That is not a bad idea.
I have found that another Muskoka blogger, Gord has decided, for the sake of his resort customers, to post his own information about Muskoka weather. He runs a great site, and has done us all a service.

The Accu-Window-Weather site (click on logo - right) has links to various webcams across the province. The map (left) shows the numerous webcams local business owners have put up on Gord's site. A fabulous site. View the Port Carling webcam, for example, or Parry Sound, or Huntsville.

With potentially a million visitors to Muskoka, a million visitors to Muskoka on long weekends, most coming up highway #400, they are wise to ensure they are warm enough, have rain gear, or we have favourable conditions. With the high winds of late, we are susceptible to power outages, too. That is another story!


Cloudia said...

Nevertheless, this Waikiki-an dreams of an Ontario respite.....Aloha, Jenn

Caitlin said...

The CBC has gone through some serious budget cuts in recent months, and regional broadcasting is being reduced in many areas. I doubt that they, or many other broadcasters, have the resources to cover the Muskoka area, despite the large numbers of summer visitors.

Jenn Jilks said...

I disagree, Caitlin. I think that all it takes is to post a simple temperature on the map, enlarge the map area. I can read a temperature! Much of the Toronto weather forecast features a close up of downtown Toronto temperatures. The site says, "Meteorologist Nick Czernkovich tracks all of your Greater Toronto Area weather every evening on CBC News at Six." Why can he show Goderich, & London, ON, temps, but not anything North of Barrie? He does focus on GTA in his longer forecast, and explains small disparties between downtownToronto and Markham. This makes no sense! The technology is not that fine-tuned!

EG CameraGirl said...

Incredible that Boston can cover you and Toronto can't. Hmmm.

I live in the northern end of the GTA and really, if truth be told, the CBC doesn't do a great job with our weather either. I think the CBC relies on the weather station at Buttonville Airport...north of Toronto and a degree or two cooler than the city.

BUT I live on the north side of the Oak Ridges Moraine and so we are closer to Lake Simcoe than to Lake Ontario. However, our weather isn't often like Barrie either. I think it depends on the prevailing winds.

So it baffles me that Boston is able to get your weather right. Kudos to them!

EG CameraGirl said...

I just read your answer to Caitlin. The reason the CBC can tell you what's happening in Markham is because the Buttonville Airport weather station is in Markham. ;-)

Jenn Jilks said...

We have an airport weather station at Muskoka Airport, too, EG! IT's simple to place the temperature on their weather map! :-) Two minutes to look it up on the web and pop it on.

Huntsville Ontario said...

Hi Jenn, if you want current and forecasted weather conditions for Huntsville you could always save this page I made as your homepage, then every time your online you'll see the weather, plus it has a handy google search bar. Huntsville Weather

Jeremy said...

Oh and you are right about fire coverage. I emailed the pictures to the star, post, globe and mail and the sun and told them about what happened and I did not hear back from any of them. Although the A channel news did use some of my pictures.

Jenn Jilks said...

I could, Jeremy! But we check the weather religiously through the Weather Network, etc.
It is the TV coverage that is bad. Besides, I worry most over our tourists who spend 3 hours in traffic, only to find it is, for example, snowing up here! We can have a million visitors on a long w/e.