LETTER: Technology not reliable in windstorms

The recent windstorm that struck Vancouver Island with very high winds highlighted our over–dependency upon technology. One portion of our over modern world’s reliance upon technology is in the area of weather stations. Both Gonzales and Saturna Light weather stations were knocked out by the over 90 kilometre per hour wind gusts in the storm of last week.

Both sites are unmanned, so neither were able to provide any weather information, much of which is extremely valuable, especially when storms affect the region. Wind speeds and direction and state of the sea (in the case of marine stations, and previously lighthouses) were invaluable to those dependent on critically important weather information.

But now, and over the past number of years, Victoria Gonzales and many other sites are unable to provide critical weather information when technology fails. It is not coincidence, that during the worst weather conditions automated sites often are disrupted.

There was a time when weather stations like Gonzales and other key sites, including many lighthouses, had qualified weather observers that were able to continue to report winds, state of the sea, nearby weather developments, sky condition, amounts and types of precipitation and visibility, both at and near the station.

All that is not possible, at many key locations where unmanned weather stations and lighthouse have been replaced by a totally automated base.

Rodney Chilton,

Victoria

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