Why is the weather forecast so unpredictable?

YOU ASKED:Why are our weather reports so consistently wrong? Only the reporting of today's conditions is correct. Our long-term, even weekly, predictions are never correct. I suspect it is because we get our reports from Kelowna.

- Thanks, Ian Kerr

OUR ANSWER:You're definitely onto something, Ian. We've lost track of how many times our weather map on Page A2 of The Daily News differs from the real-world conditions on the ground.

But, since we aren't experts, you probably want more of an answer than that. So we contacted Environment Canada's weather guru David Jones for the straight goods on forecasts that have been anything but straightforward this season.

"Let me say, off the top, yes there has not been a great track record of forecasts so far for this winter in Kamloops," said Jones.

"We need to do a better job there."

The "we" he is referring to is Environment Canada's weather centre in Vancouver, which gathers weather information and observations and then produces forecasts for each region in B.C.

So, the forecasts don't come out of Kelowna. They come from a lot farther away.

"Kamloops is an interesting case," said Jones, "and I think we're going to look at changing the way we do the forecast there."

At issue is the change in elevation across our urban landscape.

The city rises 610 metres from the airport to Aberdeen.

"Kamloops is very unique in that regard and I don't think we're structured to really handle that so well in the forecast," said Jones.

"You've got weather observations taken on the hour down in the valley at the airport, which are not representative of what's happening in higher places like Aberdeen."

Environment Canada issues warnings for wind, snow, rain and anything else that's deemed out of the ordinary for a typical weather pattern. But some of those warnings were missed this winter, said Jones.

As for a solution, that will take some work, but Jones said their man on the ground, Jim Steele, is already looking into better ways of gathering weather data from all points in Kamloops, which would help the weather centre in Vancouver provide a more accurate forecast.

Bottom line, said Jones, Environment Canada is aware of the problem and its people are working to fix it.

We'll keep you posted.

© Copyright 2018 Kamloops Daily News