Featuring Connor Mockett
Hello, everyone! Welcome to this week’s “The Weather with Connor” column. This time, I thought I’d switch it up a little bit. Instead of doing weather recaps like I had been doing, this week I’m going to do a Q&A. On Facebook, I asked if anyone had any questions, and that I’d answer them in the column. I’ll be picking a few and answering them down below:
Q: What’s the closest you’ve been to a tornado?
A: I’ve only ever seen one tornado. It was the weak EF-0 tornado that impacted some properties on Franktown Road, just west of the town of Richmond, Ontario in southwest Ottawa. It tore up some trees and hit a golf course, damaging the main building. I saw it from a good distance away, about 5km away, and didn’t even have enough time to get my camera out to take a photo of it. I look forward to the time where I see a tornado I can actually take a photo of.
Q: With how warm this winter has been, can you predict a stormy summer ahead?
A: Sometimes when we have winters that have been this snowy, it can result in a good (for chasing) summer stormwise. That’s because as the snow melts, it puts moisture into the ground, which gives more moisture for the storms and environment to work with in the storm season. But, can I specifically predict a stormy summer? No, not really. That’s too far away, and it’s basically impossible to know that far out.
Q: How old were you when you first became so interested in weather?
A: About 9 years old! I used to watch a show on Discovery Channel called Storm Chasers every morning before hopping on the school bus. That show is the main reason I love to do what I do.
Q: Can you walk us through the models that you use?
A: There’s many different weather models. I regularly rely on 4 out of the 8 usual models, which are the GFS (Global Forecast System), the ECMWF (the European version), the HRRR (High Resolution Rapid Refresh), and the NAM (North American Model). I find these to be the most accurate around this area. All of them have different computer algorithms as to how they’re put together and how they think the weather will happen, which is why a lot of times I’ll mention “the models aren’t agreeing with each other today”. There’s also many different websites to view these, but I use WeatherBELL, as it has much better zoomed in maps on the Eastern Ontario area, rather than maps that are too far out and include the US Northeast states, which confuses many people. The other 4 models, which I don’t use all that often, are usually less accurate and unreliable.
Q: Will the train wreck in East Palestine, Ohio affect our air or water?
A: Really, it’s impossible to know. Information about it has been locked tight by everyone involved. There’s no way to know and/or predict how bad this will be for the environment for areas as far away as we are in Eastern Ontario, which is about 800km.
Q: What are those long lines we keep seeing on the radar?
A: It’s just interference. I’ve been told it’s the 5G cell phone towers that have created problems for the new radars that Environment Canada has installed, and they’re trying to come up with a solution to fix the problem. There’s nothing wacky or wild going on, it’s just simply interference spikes.
Q: Do you feel pressure when it comes to posting information about snowdays?
A: Not at all. I started mentioning them in my forecasts because there were many people asking about the possibilities, and I’ve included them ever since.
Q: Where is an area that you want to go to chase, but you’ve never been there before?
A: Definitely Tornado Alley in the US, like Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, etc. I’ve always wanted to go.
Q: Do you do seasonal forecasts?
A: I do forecasts for everything! I do not stop in the spring, summer, or fall. I post just as many forecasts in the summer as I would in the winter.
Aside from the questions, the end of the month is looking quite cold, with a couple of opportunities for a storm or two. Winter is, without a doubt, not over whatsoever. We’ve still got weeks to go.
Thank you for all the questions! I will talk to you all in a couple weeks.