If you wanted to make a lot of money — in Canada at least — invest in or invent something related to just one thing: the weather.
Canadians are obsessed with the weather. Totally.
And no wonder — have you looked out the window today? If you live in Red Deer, you may presently be seeing the most snow ever in the recorded history of the Earth.
Environment Canada says Red Deer has received about 102 cm (and counting at time of writing) of snow since it began falling in earnest in November. Normal November/December accumulation is 36 cm!
Average total accumulation from November to February is 59 cm. Already the area has experienced one definitive blizzard, but also there have been a couple of times of near-blizzard conditions.
This winter will be one for the record books.
If the snow doesn’t get to you, the driving conditions will. Ditches along Hwy 2 have been littered with vehicles every other day lately.
And residential streets in Red Deer have already received an earlier then ever plowing, which in retrospect should have been more extensive.
Of course, we are focused on weather.
We live in a big country where we often travel long distances. Mother Nature is the one that decides how our journeys will go.
In Canada, all within one year, we can see record heat waves, tornadic storms, flooding rains and ice storms. Millions of us are affected by these events.
So how do we manage?
Apparently in a very modern way these days.
We just pull out our handy dandy mobile devices and tap our way through it, like nowhere else in the world, according to a recent online survey by Ipsos.
Canadian Press reports that more than 19,000 respondents in 27 countries responded to the survey about what kinds of apps they used regularly. (Online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population like traditional telephone polls.)
True to their nature, 47 per cent of Canadians polled said the app they most often loaded on their mobile device is a weather app. This is eight percentage points above the global average. Some may be wondering, given the weather we have in this country, why a beer app isn’t more popular.
Anyway, comparatively speaking, only 22 per cent of the users in Saudi Arabia regularly use a weather app. That’s understandable, since they really don’t have weather there.
Here in Canada, by George, we have weather! In Alberta, for example, we can see the temperature change within hours by 30 or 40 degrees with the arrival of a chinook, or on the other end of the spectrum, a flash freeze.
Weather apps are the next best thing to sliced bread. In an instant, wherever you are, you can see not just temperatures and wind and forecast, but also dramatic, artsy-looking radar pictures.
Weather apps are incredibly popular. Apple, for example, has hundreds and hundreds of apps related to weather — with names like GameDay Weather, Global Warming Prediction, Good Weather, Calgary Wind Warning, Here Comes The Sun, and Home and Dry, there’s something for everyone, and every Canadian situation.
I have no less than three weather apps on my smartphone.
Today all three apps are telling me: “This is only Day 10 of Winter. OMG.”
Happy New Year.
Mary-Ann Barr is the Advocate’s assistant city editor. She can be reached by email at barr@reddeeradvocate/com or by phone at 403-314-4332.