Weekend Weather Update (Plus one of the world's greatest pranks!)

Enjoy the stunning sunshine today because it's the last you'll see of it for the next week. Higher pressure aloft will give way to the first in a series of fronts aimed directly at British Columbia.

1) A weaker front will move through on Friday, expect breezy conditions with modest rainfall amounts (10-20 mm).

2) Saturday, a more vigorous and stronger system arrives. Moderate winds accompanied with heavy rains. Southeast gales over open waters.

3) This trend continues Sunday through until Tuesday, with Ex-Typhoon Pabuk's remnants arriving early next week.

I'll also briefly discuss rainfall predictions by a couple key numerical weather models.  

Vancouver, BC:

  • Global GEM: 144 mm (5.5 inches)
  • Global GFS: 240 mm (9.5 inches) 

Below is a representation of the GFS model's precipitation predictions to next Wednesday evening....Exceptional rain totals predicted! Gray shades show 7+ inches. 


GFS Precip Totals through to Next Wednesday.jpg

Now... Why so much rain? 

The polar jet stream has taken aim at BC and the Pacific Northwest and it will bring in several systems in a relatively short amount of time. This combined with the added moisture and energy from Typhoon Pabuk, which I discussed here in a previous blog post will enhance rainfall totals. 

250hPa Wind speed Jet Stream for Friday 06Z..jpg
250hpa Jet Stream speeds Sunday.jpg

As you can see from the above images the 250mb wind speeds will be astronomically high.  

The first image is for Friday morning, and the enhancement will be in part by Pabuk's incorporation into the jet system. The forecast shows that portions of the jet will reach 220 knots or over 400 km/hr!

If you have a flight from Tokyo to Vancouver, you might be in for a bumpy ride, but on the upside you'll arrive faster.

The same polar jet will be enhanced over British Columbia this weekend, and the picture directly above is showing jet speeds in the neighborhood of 150 knots or nearly 300 km/hr.  

Remember, this is 10 km above your head, not surface wind speeds, so don't worry too much! 

So, in essence we have a fire hose of wind and moisture pointed our way for the coming days, guiding in system after system with little time in between. Flooding will be a concern by early next week, and with the heavy rain there will be landslide concerns around the local mountains and unstable hillsides. Several rivers on Vancouver Island and the Coastal Mountain Range could approach flood stage by early next week.

I'd also make sure your storm drains in front of your house are cleaned for the impending rain events. 

So please follow and heed warnings posted by Environment Canada, and to report severe or unusual weather use the hashtag #bcstorm (which is monitored by weather forecasters).






Bonus Fact-of-the-Day

best prank ever.jpg

Check out my other bonus fact about an "erupting volcano" from an earlier post, as well.


It's a long way from April 1st, but I'd like to discuss my all-time favorite April Fool's Day prank.

What does one dormant volcano, seventy kerosene soaked tires, and a helicopter all mean? Read on for one of the greatest pranks pulled off in Sitka, Alaska...

There was a man so dedicated to April Fools, he flew hundreds of tires into a dormant volcano in Alaska and set them on fire. Fooling the local populace, and coast guard into thinking the volcano was active...

Residents of Sitka, Alaska woke on the morning of Monday April 1, 1974 to a bright, clear day. They could see right across Sitka Sound to Kruzof Island, where the familiar sight of Mount Edgecumbe, a volcano dormant for 400 years, loomed. But today something was different about the view. A menacing plume of black smoke was rising from the crater. It looked like the volcano was preparing to blow!
Concerned residents spilled out of their homes onto the streets to gaze up at the volcano. Calls poured in to local authorities. The Coast Guard commander radioed the Admiral in Juneau who ordered a chopper be sent out to investigate. As the Coast Guard pilot approached Mt. Edgecumbe, the plume of smoke grew in size. Finally he was right above it, and he peered down into the crater. At first, he couldn't believe what he was seeing. He looked more closely, and then he laughed. Stacked in the cone of the volcano, burning with a greasy flame, was a huge pile of old tires. And spray-painted in the snow beside the tires, in 50-foot-high black letters, were the words "APRIL FOOL."
Pulling Off the Prank

The fake eruption of Mt. Edgecumbe was the work of a local prankster, 50-year-old Oliver "Porky" Bickar. The idea to ignite the volcano had occurred to him in 1971. As soon as he thought of the idea, he knew he had to do it. So he collected 70 old tires that he kept in an airplane hangar. But he had to wait three years, until April Fool's Day 1974, until the visibility conditions were just right for the prank.
When he woke that morning on April 1, he looked out his window and could see right across the sound. So he looked at his wife, Patty, and said, "I have to go do it today." She replied, "Just don't make an ass of yourself."
Although Porky had prepared the tires, he hadn't arranged for a chopper pilot to fly the tires out to the crater — and this detail almost foiled his plan. The first two pilots he contacted refused to do it, but then he phoned Earl Walker, in Petersburg, who agreed to come over as soon as the morning fog in his area cleared.
Porky also secured the assistance of some friends — Harry Sulser, Ken Stedman, and Larry Nelson. They were all part of a group calling itself the "Dirty Dozen" that used to meet every week for coffee and conversation at Revard's Restaurant.
As the pranksters waited for the chopper, they piled the tires into two, large canvas slings. Soon the pilot had arrived, and they attached one of the slings to a hook on the bottom of the chopper. They also took along some smoke bombs, several gallons of kerosene, and some rags. Then they headed out to the crater.
After the chopper dropped the first load of tires into the crater, Porky got out and began stomping the words "APRIL FOOL" in the snow, as the chopper headed back for the second load.
When the chopper returned, all the men piled the tires into a stack. Then they lit them on fire and headed home.
The pranksters had taken the precaution of notifying the FAA controller of their plan. As the group returned to Sitka, the controller radioed them: "You have clearance. And by the way, the son-of-a-(gun) looks fantastic."
They had also warned the local police, but they forgot about the Coast Guard, which is why it wasn't long before the Coast Guard pilot was retracing their path out to the mountain.
The Reaction:
The prank succeeded beyond Porky's wildest dreams. News of it got picked up by the Associated Press and ran in papers around the world.
The reaction of people in Sitka, once they realized the volcano wasn't really erupting, was almost uniformly positive. Even the Coast Guard wasn't too mad about the stunt. Porky met the Admiral years later at a Fourth of July party. As the Admiral walked over to meet him, Porky was afraid he was going to be chewed out, but instead the Admiral told Porky he thought the prank was classic.
Alaska Airlines also liked it. The company included Porky's prank in ad campaign the following year, 1975. The campaign highlighted the irreverent spirit of Alaskans by collecting together brief accounts of great "brags" pulled off by Alaskans. Porky's brag read:
On April Fool's Day, I hired a chopper and flew 70 old, kerosene-soaked tires on top of the dormant volcano, Mt. Edgecumbe, that looms over Sitka. I set the tires on fire, and the billowing, black smoke created one hell of a commotion in Sitka. I dare you to top that April Fool's joke."
Six years later when Mount St. Helens erupted a Sitka resident wrote to Bickar to tell him, “This time you’ve gone too far!”