Many thanks to a number of SWLing Post readers who’ve recently contacted me regarding announced closures at Weatheradio Canada. Dennis Dura recently shared this link from the Weatheradio Newsletter which is essentially a call to action to save the Weatheradio service.
For those of you not familiar, Weatheradio Canada is very much like NOAA Weather Radio service in the US: essentially, a vast network of transmitters which provide local forecasts and weather warnings. Both Weatheradio Canada and NOAA Weather Radio use seven fixed frequencies of 162.400, 162.425, 162.450, 162.475, 162.500, 162.525, and 162.550 MHz.
I found it difficult to believe that Canada would close their entire network of Weatheradio FM transmitters because, like the US, there are vast rural and remote areas that are well-served by the radio network. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been camping or travelling outside of mobile phone network coverage in the US and Canada and relied on weather radio for my forecast.
I decided to reach out to Environment and Climate Change Canada and get their official word. Here’s the response I received from their Media Relations representative:
As Canada’s official source for weather forecasts and alerts, Canadians rely on getting the latest current weather conditions from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) Meteorological Service. Since 1871, Canada’s Meteorological Service has continuously adapted to and taken advantage of the latest science and technology to maximize services to Canadians, including those living in remote or Northern areas, or areas without cellular service.
The Weatheradio network, introduced in the 70’s, is made up of 230 transmitting stations. For the most part, these Weatheradio transmitters are in urban areas with plenty of options for accessing weather information and alerts, e.g. internet, mobile apps, radio, television. ECCC has identified 48 Weatheradio transmitters across Canada for potential decommissioning. Of these 48, 12 in Ontario, three are in BC, three in AB, five in SK, four in MB, five in QC, five in NB, three in NS, one in PEI and seven in NL.
In other words, Environment and Climate Change Canada is considering decommissioning about 21% of their Weatheradio transmitters, targeting ones located in urban areas.
I haven’t seen a map of the transmitters marked for potential closure, but I strongly suspect if you live in a very rural area you’re unlikely to be affected.
If you live in an urban area, however, and routinely rely on a weather radio for forecasts and automatic alerts, you may soon only hear static.