Canadian trees are whimps.

So the weather forecasters on the TV were all in a tizz over the storm that was heading our way for today Monday.

UpDate: The papers and tv weather people can’t stop talking about the storm that hit us Monday??? What storm, there were winds in town here around 70-90km, sure inland and up the coast they had sort of decent winds of 120km but still. Trees were down and 2 days later 30,000 people are still without power just south of here?

Backing the buss up a little, the weather is presented here in a very different way as to what we are used to in NZ. Indeed the average Kiwi at least has some idea what a weather map. It contains fronts, isobars, Highs and Lows and arrows denoting wind direction. We are also relatively well educated on what this all means. Take for instance Tuesday’s map for midnight NZ.

Weather Map NZ

This map is relatively simple to decode. There is a font crossing over the North Island, with a trough hitting the bottom of the South Island. The isobars are more or less vertical, so there will be cold air drawn up from the south, Invercargill is not the place to be tonight, nor for that fact the Catlins or even WGTN. The weather should be quite unsettled too.

Now take a look at this baby. Same isobar map, same day, location entire Canada.

Canada Isobar

I don’t know about you (and I have a degree in this stuff), where the heck is Canada, and what is going on?

Close up, we don’t really get any clearer idea of what’s going on. I can tell you that Vancouver is more or less directly in the middle of the map.

Vancouver Surface map

What I can tell you, is that for the lower mainland (the Vancouver area) we are in for some classic NZ styled South Westerly winds (the really cold snowy stuff comes from the north obviously). But does this tell us anything.

Or does this?

It’s a lot easier to decipher, but it leaves out too much detail and you get no sense what so ever of wind.

The next two are way more typical of how Canadians get their weather information. The first is what is seen on the local TV station Global BC. It’s a good service and well explained, but oh so simplistic (for me).


While this one is from The Weather Channel, not quite as they would put it on the TV, as the TV is more horizontal than Vertical.

Weather Channel

In NZ, I am always wrapped with the detail and information presented in our forecasts, leaving aside the accuracy of them. Kiwi forecasts assume that there is a level of intelligence of the viewer, over here is has to be too simplistic and leaves way too much detail out.

So back to the poor trees.

Wet and Windy

The winds over night and this morning were gusting between 50-90km/hr. Anyone who lives in WGTN or on the south coast of the South Island will tell you that this type of wind is nothing more than a good washing drier. But boy oh boy, have the wind warnings been out all day. For good reason, trees are down and 200,000 people just south of central Vancouver are without power.

Could someone with a knowledge of these things tell me if I am wrong, but I’m guessing this has more to do with the nature of the tree root structure of (mainly) cedar trees and the soil structure rather than the wind. The roads into town this afternoon for my coffee/work were absolutely littered with tree debris, a right mess. For this sort of mess to happen in NZ we would have had to have a 120km + wind event, and even then it would have taken a bit of effort.

As for the ferries attracting so much attention. In NZ you get dramatic images/accounts of the good old interislanders ploughing through massive seas. Here a little wind gets up a relatively sheltered straight and all hell breaks loose?

If you watch the video, the shmuck standing in the wind is hardly getting his hair ruffled.

Still 1mm of snow on the roads in NZ and all hell breaks loose, we don’t know what to do, the world comes to an end and it’s top story on TV, Nz goes to hell in a hand cart. This to a Canadian would be funny.

{PS thanks so much Global TV, this is only for private use and won’t be up long.}

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Filed under News, Paul, Vancouver

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