300 Metres

16 December 2021 – One of my discoveries since moving here is the inclusion of “freezing level” data in winter forecasts. Unlike some of my other fascinations (such as moss on trees, or crows), I’ve never blogged about it. Until now!

The “freezing level” is exactly what the phrase suggests it will be: the elevation at which the air temperature is 0 Celsius and water freezes, including moisture particles in the air. In other words, it is “the line that separates snow and rain.” I take this pithy quote from the adorably named windy.app website, which will tell you a whole lot more about the topic, but that’s the gist of the thing.

It’s important information, when you live in a mountainous terrain and want to know if driving a particular highway at a given elevation will be merely misty with a wet road surface, or snowy with ice beneath your tires.

I knew all that long before I realized that I could, with my own eyes, see the data. See the freezing level — just by looking across the city, on across Burrard Inlet, to the Coast Range mountains beyond.

On 13 December, Environment and Climate Change Canada warned us: “… For most areas, showers are expected, but freezing levels are hovering around 300 metres and the rain could turn into snow in the Fraser Valley and over higher terrain.”

At 1:02 pm, on 13 December, I took this picture:

See that neat horizontal line? Powdery white above, dark below?

There’s the freezing level.

I now look for it, every day.

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  1. such a wonderful city Penny and I never knew this so thanks for sharing 🤓❄️sending joy hedy


     /  15 December 2021

    Enjoy watching your freezing level…
    I’ll stay blissfully unconcerned over here.

  3. Such important information especially now with the effects of climate change.

  4. As always very readable!

  5. I too have found this interesting since moving west and this is the time of year when the forecasts are full of predictions for snow level ups and downs. Lately, it’s been a little roller coaster. Outside of Seattle, two mountain passes are greatly affected; anyone driving into the Seattle area from anywhere east of it must pay attention to what’s going on at the passes (or head as far south as Portland!). Are chains required? Is the road temporarily closed? Up here, the mountain pass is totally closed for the season so that’s easy. It’s fun to observe the snow level creeping down as winter approaches. Another related phenomenon that we like to watch is the whiteness of Mt. Baker, the nearest big peak. In summer, big bare patches appear but now it’s all pure white. (One more thing – lately sometimes we can see your mountains from places just a few minutes from home, basking in the sunlight – I was able to identify one as Golden Ears, sitting low on the horizon and uyterly stunning from way down here!)
    Great idea for a post, Penny!

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    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

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