weather How many of you pay attention to the weekly weather forecasts in your area? In the Arctic, we look at the upcoming weather regularly as it dictates what we can plan for the week. At least in the winter this is important. I mean, who wants to go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in -40° weather when they can wait a couple of days until it warms up to -35° C?

On Sunday when MasterMaq and Sharon Y. were preparing to leave Yellowknife I checked the weather forecast both for Edmonton, where they live and were headed back to, and Yellowknife (#yzf for you Twitter people), where they had been visiting us for a week.  Their trip to Yellowknife started off with some modest -20° C temperatures the first 2 days which allowed them to go dog sledding but it quickly turned colder and they were forced to endure -30° C or colder weather for the better part of their visit.

So, Environment Canada’s weatheroffice website showed that Edmonton was supposed to get warmer with highs reaching 0° C by Saturday the 9th. The site also showed that Yellowknife was also supposed to get to 0° C by Saturday. For the north, that would be a big bonus considering we are just starting our coldest part of the year. In fact they list the warming trend that is supposed to start tomorrow as an “abnormal temperature trend”. Checking the website again last night I noticed that the forecast had changed and was now showing -10° C as the high for Saturday. This morning I checked the weather forecast again and now it is showing -14° C as the high. I am starting to feel that by Saturday we will just get our normal temperatures.

I have noticed this type of forecasting in the winter before. It’s almost like they are trying to pull a cruel joke on us northerners. Or maybe, just maybe, the GNWT is conspiring with EC to inflate longer term weather forecasts. The reason you ask? Simple!

There are 2 reasons. The first is they want it to look warmer to entice visitors to the north. Yellowknife especially has a large visitor boom in the winter as people flock from every imaginable place to see the northern lights (Aurora Borealis). Yellowknife is known around the world as a great place to view this phenomenon (although MasterMaq and Sharon Y. would disagree as they had clear weather every night here and didn’t see them once). The second reason is to play mind games with those of us who live in the north. Many look at the temperatures and start to think of leaving, either for warm vacations or moving to warmer climes but when we see that it is warming up those thoughts are put on the back burner until the next time those forecasts drop.

The funny thing is how this always seems to happen around the same time every year which is why it seems like a conspiracy.

UPDATE: As of Thursday, January 7th, 2010 the forecast for Yellowknife this Saturday is -19° C. I guess I was right after all.


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