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.


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

    "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" -- Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

    "A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities" -- Rebecca Solnit, "Wanderlust: A History of Walking"

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