When the power goes out several hours before a tornado, or a storm like Superstorm Sandy hits, a warning system would come in handy.
Environment Canada (EC) has a 24-hour-Weatherradio service that sends out weather warnings of impending conditions to people who have a Weatherradio and are in an area in range of a transmitter. The transmitters hit 93 per cent of Canadians, but Moose Jaw misses the signal.
“(EC) is working to expand this reach, taking into consideration factors such as population density, risk of severe weather, as well as availability and accessibility of other access channels to Environment Canada weather information,” said EC spokesperson Mark Johnson in an email. “(EC) is also open to partnering relationships with municipalities to accelerate weatherradio expansion.”
Moose Jaw resident Jim Connolly has done extensive research on Weatherradio ever since he picked one up on sale in Thunder Bay, Ont., not knowing it wouldn’t work in Moose Jaw. He said he believes it’s a “very worthwhile cause.”
“(EC) told me the reception would likely be very weak in the Moose Jaw area unless I had an external antenna or tower,” said Connolly, adding he spoke with local amateur radio operators. “This particular fellow that I spoke with does have a tower and he in fact was able to get the signal.”
Connolly said he wrote to Palliser MP Ray Boughen’s office concerning the issue. He said after three weeks he received confirmation Moose Jaw was excluded and they told him it was “not likely to be made available to Moose Jaw anytime soon.”
He said he also spoke with former mayor Glenn Hagel when he was still mayor. Hagel hadn’t heard of the service.
Mayor Deb Higgins said no one in city hall has any awareness of the service.
For more information, see the Dec. 30 edition of the Times-Herald Weekend Extra.