Just An Observation: Welcome to Alberta, where weather is never constant

The old adage of ‘wait five minutes and it will change’ continues some ring of truth

Well, that didn’t last long.

Alberta went from hot sunshine for a few weeks to more autumn-like cool conditions that saw the trees start to turn colours to chilly temperatures and snow covered ground in the matter of days.

If you’re old enough to remember, it seems that the age old adage that was spouted by when I was growing up continues to ring true — ‘It’s Alberta. Just wait five minutes and the weather will change.’

Granted, the ‘five minutes’ is simply Albertans way of expressing how unpredictable the climate can be in this region — buffered by mountain ranges on the west, followed by the foothills, spreading out into the prairie landscape, which can include muskeg and water filled ranges, arid and windy sections to alongside forested wilderness.

Given the vastness of the diversity that Alberta’s territory contains, why are a large number of residents continually surprised when a weather system or event catches them off-guard?

It’s been this way for as along as I can remember.

The only differences nowadays is the technological advances in weather forecasting and the fact that changes in climate patterns seem to have people believing weather can’t turn on a dime.

With people buried in their smartphones or computers, it seems people have become so reliant on the one person the public have made fun of for decades — the weatherman — that they all figure the latest and greatest computer models must be accurate.

While forecasting what the weather will do has improved, you can only half count on it being close to correct about three days ahead. Even a highly educated meteorologist will tell you, anything past that is an educated guess and over seven days is like tossing a dart in the dark.

Yet, telling people what the weather will do is exactly what it always has been — a prediction — which means it will never be total accurate.

Sure, it may be able to tell you whether what you should plan on wearing for the day or what can be anticipated in terms of possible precipitation. However, if you come to rely on that too much, then you’ll will wind up being shocked or disappointed many times when you wake up and it’s different than what you saw on the evening news the day before.

So, take the weather forecast with a dab of salt, pinch of optimism and a dash of skepticism, then wake up in the morning and prepare for anything.

Busy season begins

September for some people means the end of holidays, waking up early, a routine of work or school followed by activities or such on the weekend.

I wish it was that simple.

After a couple of months where one could pretty much plan a week or two in advance, the end of the Labour Day long weekend means a drastic increase in the amount of work that people in the media have.

With students heading back to school, that translates into the return of school sports such as golf (okay, maybe not last week), football and volleyball. That means weekday afternoons and evening coverage on top of the usual daytime work, not to mention the weekends filled with games and tournaments.

Toss in the drop of the puck on the hockey season this month and it means even more time spent on various weekends covering junior B and minor teams when things get really rolling.

As well, municipal councils are diving back into their regular meeting schedules after either taking a complete summer recess or having just a couple of meetings over the summer. What that does is take up at least a few more evenings each month, followed by several hours of going over recordings, making phone calls and then writing up the stories.

Then there are the invariable other school and community events that require time and energy to be put in to provide the public with what they want to see in their news feed.

Lastly, there is what we in the business call ‘breaking news’ — car accidents, fires, police situations, etc — that in this day and age need to be covered ‘as it happens’ or risk being left reporting last week’s news.

So, no time like the present to end this as I need to ‘cover the news.’

But that is…just an observation.

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