The Inaugural May Long Tarp Forecast

So here we stand. May 16th and the unofficial start to camping season with the upcoming long weekend.

But first I get into specifics about the weekend forecast, let's take a look back at the first half of May...

As expected we've seen 2-4C temp anomalies for the first half of the month, while the majority of Canada has seen significant negative temperature anomalies when compared to 1981-2010 climate normals.

Temperature anomaly (May 1st-May 16th 2014), using NCEP CFSR climate data (WeatherBELL)

Temperature anomaly (May 1st-May 16th 2014), using NCEP CFSR climate data (WeatherBELL)

Now, moving on to what matters.

Do you have to put a tarp up this weekend if you're braving the elements?

First off, there's a few tasks in life that have the profound ability to be used as a relationship yardstick.

If you can:

1) Finish a complete game of monopoly 

2. Assemble IKEA furniture together:

Image courtesy of NBC news

Image courtesy of NBC news

3. Put up a tarp

Tarp Tips for a 'seamless' assembly of your campsite...

1. Make sure the tarp is easily accessible as you pack your vehicle(s). Often, people spend many wasted minutes searching for the elusive tarp and rope, so as soon as you pop the trunk it's best if it's waiting for immediate assembly near the front

2. Drainage issues. Often 'power showers' can catch the most veteran campers off-guard, so to prevent pooling and catastrophic tarp failure it can be ideal to erect a pole in the centre of your top (on top of a picnic table), to allow for easy surface runoff. 

YOUR 2014 TARP FORECAST

1. North Island

  • Judging by the CMC model, most areas, except for the east Vancouver Island rain shadow will see some light precipitation this weekend. A tarp is critical if you're planning on camping north of Campbell River this weekend thanks in part by an upper level trough setting up shop for the weekend (shower risk 60%)

Port Hardy Meteogram

GFS/NAM models both in agreement for some precipitation for Port Hardy over the weekend

GFS/NAM models both in agreement for some precipitation for Port Hardy over the weekend

2. South Island

As of now, American models are mixed for south Island, NAM showing several mm, but the GFS is keeping things dry

As of now, American models are mixed for south Island, NAM showing several mm, but the GFS is keeping things dry

I'll turn to some advanced SREF forecasts to get a better idea for the shower intensity for the weekend, but the South Island is looking MAINLY dry, will low risk of heavy precipitation

Going with the SREF showers this weekend will mainly be light and less than a 10th of an inch or just a few mm. There's also a chance your site could remain completely dry as you're not moving all over the forecast area, limiting the POP for yourself.

Going with the SREF showers this weekend will mainly be light and less than a 10th of an inch or just a few mm. There's also a chance your site could remain completely dry as you're not moving all over the forecast area, limiting the POP for yourself.

Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley/Interior

  • Unfortunately you're facing the highest risk of showers over the next 72 hours. Tarps mandatory here folks. An unstable SW flow will bring in the possibility of showers until at least Monday afternoon, with highest chance for some steadier rain on Sunday. An isolated thunderstorm in the interior is a possibility as well, especially today/tonight (up to 70% risk)
SREF calibrated TS probability up to 70 percent for portions of the interior tonight. Play safe, folks.

SREF calibrated TS probability up to 70 percent for portions of the interior tonight. Play safe, folks.

Do you have any camping stories you'd like to share, particularly involving setting up the tarp?

Any tricks or tips you're willing to share?

We all have that adjacent camper who risks it all and fails to set up the tarp. We all know if you set up a tarp it significantly lowers the POP (probability of precipitation), while failing to be adequately prepared will sharply increase POP.

It's science, folks.

#50shadesofVan