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Can you understand this weather forecast?


Jan 30, 2006
Back in July some friends and I did a Cape Scott trip. We got storm bound at Raft Cove, so we availed ourselves of the BC Parks cabin while the system blew through. As all you trippers know, listening to weather is a kayaker’s ritual, especially when something nasty blows in off the Pacific. Here is the Environment Canada three-day marine weather forecast that we got: see if you can understand it.

That's... something.

On another note, were you able to receive the forecast while at Cape Scott? Last year, we had literal radio silence at Guise Bay. We tried two different radios.
Not at Guise Bay, but we lost radio at Raft Cove during the passage of the front. After the front passed, the radios were clear. A radio friend told me that this was likely due to a phenomenon known as atmospheric ducting. Could that have happened to you?
That's one tough accent for a west coast native to understand o_O
The forecast ritual is always a workout and requires a team effort to start with, i can see why you recorded it. The playback would have been much easier to decifer than waiting for the report to cycle around and in my case around again and again:)
Actually, I recorded it because I was so pissed off that my government weather service was incomprehensible that I wanted evidence. I thought it was some sort of stupid joke or worse, a political statement, that might actually endanger lives.

If you listen to the track, you’ll hear that the voice reads most words phonetically in a French accent, but occasionally slips into French outright. Hence, “west coast Vancouver Island du nord.” That’s what makes it hard to understand: it’s Franglais.

After I got back from the trip I decided to get to the bottom of things. I ended up phoning Prince Rupert Coast Guard and sent them the video. The guy I was talking to listened to it and got back to me. He too was really surprised, but he surmised that Environment Canada had mistakenly uploaded English text but had the software read it with a French accent (they have different accent options, just like Siri). That is somewhat plausible, though it doesn’t explain the actual French parts of the broadcast.

Mystery solved?

Interesting! I kinda/sorta speak French (when we were in Paris, the waitstaff and museum guides were polite enough to pretend I was speaking French so as not to embarass me in front of my wife...). So when I first started to listen to that, my brain launched the "French" wetware app, and then I was baffled that things weren't computing.