YOU ASKED: Next to where I live on Pacific Way is, I believe, a weather station. I have always thought weather readings were taken from city airports. Could you please confirm this is a weather station and for whom or what purpose it serves? Are there more located around the city?
— Regards, Stan Lowrey
OUR ANSWER: First thing we did was go to the site and snap a few photos of the suspected weather station, which is near 2021 Pacific Way.
Then we posted one of the images on Twitter to see if our readers at large could identify the structure. One of the great things about social media is its ability to harness the collective knowledge of a community — and Kamloops has no shortage of that.
The replies started within minutes.
“@CathLitt_KDN that's a pretty standard looking weather station, they're all over!” tweeted Dave Dormer.
“I'm quite certain there is a weather station on Pac Way, though I've never seen it. Jim Steele is vacationing, unfortunately,” added CFJC’s James Peters.
Former City council candidate Raymond Nyuli also weighed in to help, after seeing a second image showing the top of the tower: “It's a weather station. Wind direction & possibly speed on top. There are a few around town inc Westsyde Road near the Dunes.”
Derek Fisher, a wastewater technician with the City, also responded, saying it’s definitely a weather station. He said he knew of at least one other station at McArthur Island, possibly another somewhere in Dallas.
Fisher surprised us, too, with this information: “The city parks dep't collects the data to help determine efficient irrigation volumes in the parks.”
Armed with that, our next stop was Environment Canada’s Doug Lindquist, who is handing the weather duties in Jim Steele’s absence. We asked Lindquist if he could verify the information we gathered thus far.
Lindquist confirmed that the site is a weather station, but it’s not used by Environment Canada, he said.
It belongs to the City of Kamloops, which we were able to verify through parks supervisor Shawn Cook.
“Yes, this is one of our weather stations we use to determine how much water we use in our parks and boulevard areas,” said Cook.
“The parks irrigation use has decreased 46 per cent since 2004. The weather stations give data to our central computer which controls and schedules our irrigation systems in our parks so we put the amount of water needed for what we are growing . . . .”
As for Environment Canada, its main source of data is the NavCanada weather station at Kamloops Airport. “It is what we use for verification and the main forecast point but there are others,” said Lindquist, including Environment Canada’s own supplementary equipment at the airport.
As well, both the B.C. Ministry of Forests and Ministry of Transportation have weather stations scattered throughout the region, which they use for a variety of purposes, such as preparing route forecasts for drivers.
And, finally, there are private weather stations as well. The website Weather Underground uses three private stations in preparing its Kamloops forecast — one in Batchelor Heights, one in Upper Sahali and a third in Lac Le Jeune.