when in doubt consult the rheumatism


How are you feeling today? Sore?

Poor baby.

Fact is, for all of you suffering through shoveller’s belly, the fun isn’t over.

There’s another snow warning in the forecast … if you believe in such things.

If you don’t, you may have good reason.

According to a new report by the Commissioner of the Environment, Ottawa’s weather scryers issue 10,000 severe weather warnings and watches every year.

Problem is, they may not know what they’re talking about.

A new probe by the Commissioner of the Environment has determined the department has no idea how accurate its predictions are.

“Environment Canada’s systems and procedures do not adequately support the delivery of timely and accurate severe weather warnings to Canadians,” said commissioner Scott Vaughn.

“Although it currently delivers a large number of severe weather warnings, it lacks the information necessary to know the condition of its monitoring assets and whether the warnings are complete, timely or accurate.”

Basically, the cubicle monkeys know their computer suggests there’s a squall happening. But they don’t have access to a window.

Environment Canada has been dismantling its regional weather network since 1993 — part of the first round of federal deficit-fighting measures — and pulling its leaner teams into central locations that oversee large areas using satellites and computer modelling.

Some argue the system is more efficient.

Others say not, citing, most recently, the failure to predict the snowstorm that hammered Vancouver.

And there are some who believe Environment Canada is using the same equipment Finance uses to do its economic forecasts. OK, that’s just a cheap shot.

But the fact is that Vaughn warns the weather monitoring equipment used by Environment Canada has been affected by continual cutbacks. It is ramshackle and in need of replacement.

In its defence, Environment Canada asserts it’s tracking what equipment needs repair. And, while it could spend money to improve forecasting, it would be expensive.

And, with Ottawa logging huge deficits, that’s not going to happen. 

So we’ll have to do our own forecasting — just listen to your aching joints.

And keep the shovel handy, because the sky outside suggests it’s going to snow again.

As for Vaughn’s report, we can thank him for settling a longstanding Yukon argument.

Weather really is a federal responsibility.