Weather

We get quite a lot of it!

Backlit blowing snow on the Chilcotin near Kleena Kleene
Blowing Snow in front of an unknown peak.

 

Weather Stations

There are two automatic weather stations on the Chilcotin.  One is at Puntzi Mountain, about 100 miles east of Ginty Creek, and the other is at Hagensborg in the Bella Coola Valley, about 100 miles west.  The two climates that these places record could not be more different.

Puntzi Mountain is an old American army base, which (according to Wikipedia) “was established  in 1951 to provide access to a base of the Pine Tree Line, part  of the DEW system. It was the second-longest  airstrip in British Columbia at the time and thirteen D8 bulldozers were  on-site to keep the runway graded and, in winter, cleared of snow.  One hundred American servicemen and a few Canadian servicemen, some  with families, staffed the base at Puntzi, which also hired local Tsilhqot’in people.”

Coldest Place in Canada

Except for periodic manouevers, and the use of the runway for water bombers during fire season, not a lot happens there now.  It has a bit of a reputation, though.  It is high on the dry Chilcotin plateau and often it has been cited as the coldest place in Canada.  I think the record temperature was something like minus 68.  This would have been Farenheit, but even so…. (My own thermometre has registered minus 55 Centigrade twice during my 30 years in the area.)

The Hagensborg airport, where the other weather station is located, is pretty much at sea level.  Being on the west, coastal side of the mountains, the temperature is mild and the climate very wet.  There has been barely a gleam of sun since Christmas.  Every day they have had snow, rain, or rain mixed with snow.

Ginty Creek is on the dry side of the Coast Range.  It is a little lower, and a little warmer than Puntzi, but the climate is generally that of the interior.  However, when the wind is from the west, we get wetter airstreams from the Bella Coola Valley, and are also influenced by the gap in the mountains (which is the picture on the header of this blog).  This is the valley that leads down the Klinaklini river.  When the warm, moist air from the coast meets the cold air of the interior, we get snow.

Sunset over the Klinaklini Valley seen from Ginty Creek
Winter Sunset

I have to adapt my life to the weather: I need sun for the solar power system and on dull days must ration my light and computer time. I had to design my roofs for heavy snow; the snow might cut me off from the highway. I also had to take into account the sometimes violent winds, and I didn’t want my house to be washed into the river during floods.

To check the weather I must look at the forecasts for both places.  I then have to see if there are any cloud movements (ground winds do not always follow sky winds) and determine which way the weather is coming from, and therefore which of the two often very different forecasts might apply.

Right now the weather is very spring-like.  Around minus 5 C at night and just above freezing (in the shade) during the day.  In the sun I walk without a coat, my sleeves rolled up to get as big a VitD fix as possible.  Thawing snow is actually a nuisance in the winter.  It is soggy to snow-shoe in and heavy to shovel.  I shall be glad to get the cooler weather that is promised in a day or two.

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