Snowy predictions and other fun for $2.99 a minute

Tyler Austin Bradley
By Tyler Austin Bradley
October 27th, 2010

Once upon a time our ancestors split one another open with roughly shaped stone hatchets in the interests of divining insights into future events. 

Given our closer ties and more intimate connections to our physical environment back in the olden days, I’m of the mind that a fair bit of the sought after information revealed in Crog’s exposed ribcage had to do with the weather. 
“Left hand lower rib #4 shows marrow patterns indicative of high winds Tuesday morning.”
Sure, nowadays it’s become a cliché to while away the hours discussing weather patterns and meteorological trends (it’s not the blood sport it used to be), but today we are at least presented with a wider variety of options and media with which we can assemble a clearer picture of prospective seasonal onslaughts; word on the street is that we’re going to get pulverized with snow this year; unconfirmed hearsay is flying like the flakes we’re hoping for. 
Unconfirmed, that is, until now.
I’m a lonely man, and recently I’ve become acquainted with 1-900 numbers. Not like the gross ones- sometimes I just want to hear a voice at the other end of the line, and to fill that void in my life I’ve been calling the Environment Canada “Weather One on One” line. 
It’s a one-two punch: someone always answers (within regular business hours), AND I get the low-down on prevailing or impending climatic conditions. My most recent conversation with Environment Canada’s Vancouver John (or John in Vancouver) centred on Rossland and the snow-globe-like winter ahead of us. 
Yep, “Weather One on One.” I imagine you can turn it into a three-way of you have that party-line option on your phone, but this blustery morning it was just John and I getting caught up at the posted rate of $2.99 a minute. I asked the appropriate questions, and offer them up here for your consideration. Free of charge! You’re welcome, Rossland.
“Environment Canada, John speaking.”
“Hey John, it’s Tyler calling from out in Rossland.”
“Rossland… Rossland. The Kootenays?”
“Heck yeah.”
“What can I do for you?”
“I have a few questions about the weather out here. Like, what’s coming down the pipe?”
“Let me just look it up here… on my screen… Rossland…”
“Yeah, where are you at, anyhow? You’re not in Delhi or something are you?”
“No, I’m in Vancouver.”
“Oh. What’s it like out there today?”
“My office doesn’t have a window.”
“Rossland, okay… Cooling trend starting in the next work week- long-range forecast is freezing level dropping- rain showers early next week. Thursday November fourth, cold air is going to come blasting in from the north… Probably snow next Thursday.”
“But we’re at 1000m here- couldn’t those showers be flurries Monday?”
“Wow, 1000m? Yeah, Monday you might see some snow.”
“We usually get some Halloween.”
“Huh…” (long pause)
“But John, what I really want to know about is the ski season.”
“Right. Well, it’s a La Nina year.”
“What does that mean?”
“Well, in a La Nina year we have a colder pool of water sitting west of North America and that changes airflow patterns throughout the Pacific Northwest and Interior.” 
“What does that mean for Rossland?”
“Well, in November, December and January there will be near normal temperatures- the cold air is mostly coastal… but precipitation is going to be above average in Rossland- that’s a good indicator, a good sign you’ll get more snow than usual. Even in the short term, you can expect above normal precipitation.”
“Are we going to get pounded, John?”
“Pounded? Sure, yeah, there you go. Prepare for above normal snowfall. It will be interesting.”
Hear that folks? EC John says, “Interesting.” 
And the best part? A reasonable expense of $2.99 a minute, and no need to throw a virgin into our local volcano. Still, being, as I am, a diligent reporter and a firm believer in confirming statements made by my sources, I elected to go one step further and consult another well-respected agency. No Doppler radar, here. I decided to ring up Dionne Warwick’s Psychic Friends Hotline.
With a minute-by-minute rate of $2.99 identical to that of Environment Canada’s, how could I say no?
After giving out my credit card billing information and receiving assurances that my telephone bill would display only a vague and innocuous company name as opposed to “Psychic Friends Network” (why would I be embarrassed?), it was on.
“Crystal” picked up at the other end, and after some friendly chit-chat we got down to business.
“So, my question might be a bit unusual,” I prefaced, expecting her to fill in the blanks what with being psychic and all. Instead I got a long pause. It was as though she wanted to draw things out… hmm.
“We all have questions about our love life,” she ventured.
“Well, I do love snow,” I thought aloud. Or maybe she read my mind, I can’t really remember. She may have put the whammy on me.
“Yeah, I live in Rossland, BC. It’s this cool little ski town in British Columbia.”
My Chamber-like endorsement of the Mountain Kingdom was met with silence. I figure she was watching the meter at this point, hawkish as an NYC cabbie. Then I figured my muddled thoughts might be fogging up her psychic window into my soul.
“So, are we going to get a lot of snow this year?”
“There will be snow,” she assured me. Seemed kind of ominous, actually. Uh-oh. Be snow? Huh?
To be honest, the whole thing kind of unravelled from there. Crystal kept asking about my sign, and I was all “I don’t see how that has any bearing whatsoever on our ski season.” Then she kind of just hung up. 
Still, reconciling Crystal’s magic eight-ball schtick with Environment Canada John’s info, I think it’s safe to say we’re in for a sweet season full of above average precipitation, above average per capita beer drinking and lots of sexy La Nina action. 
So whether we find comfort in the downy bosom of pillowy powder runs in another month, or the telephonic cleavage of Environment Canada or Psychic Friends, some things are predictable, almost guaranteed; never a dull moment here, and, like the weather, change is flowing and assured. And $2.99 a minute to get a piece of it seems epically fair.
Batten down the hatches. Here comes the snow.

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