Scott Moore reaches for the sky
“It all started, actually, at a bus stop,” says Scott Moore.
About six or seven years ago, the longtime Minden resident was waiting at the school bus stop with his daughter, when fellow parent and friend Brigitte Gall started asking him what the weather was going to be like. (Gall told the Times that Moore’s ‘bus stop weather forecast’ was usually 90 to 100 per cent right, including roughly the time when active weather was going to start.)
“The next morning, she would say, ‘boy, were you right, thanks…what’s today’s weather going to be?’,” laughs Moore. From there, Gall convinced him to put his forecasts online, and Minden meteorological history was made.
Three or four years ago, Moore posted his first local weather report on his social media page, which has spread to four other public group pages in the area, and he hasn’t stopped. The forecasts detail quite accurate weather in this region – temperatures, up-to-the-minute rain and snow reports, even with a shout out to events happening in the area – and receive plenty of comments from people in Haliburton County but also Bobcaygeon, Toronto, Florida and B.C. wanting to know what to expect in the day. One woman in Calgary calls her sister here, who doesn’t have the internet, to inform her of what she can expect based on Moore’s forecast for the day.
Daily, the amateur meteorologist wakes up in the very early morning hours, pulls up his computer – and sometimes his wife’s computer, too – opens several web browser screens and starts going over the data.
“I use multiple sources,” he said, citing the Weather Network, Environment Canada, but also weather data programs developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “I don’t just go pull up The Weather Network (forecast) and say, ‘hey, there’s the weather for the day.’ It doesn’t work that way, because half the time you’ll look at it and it says it’s sunny, and it’s snowing outside. How do you trust that? I’m not trying to bash anybody, they’re all doing their job. But Haliburton County doesn’t seem to get covered like other areas do. Haliburton County has wild weather. It has distinct patterns sometimes just because of the topography, it makes it different. The weather in Stanhope can be completely different than it is in Minden. It’s almost as if there’s a line. Carnarvon seems like a line. The weather above it can be a whole new ball game.”
Moore said the information is available and accessible to everyone if they want to spend the time to learn and look at it. But it does take time – sometimes just a few minutes, but sometimes significantly longer – and it’s time he enjoys. He follows weather patterns, checks five or six different sites each morning, and determines what might be coming through data detailing low and high pressures and the direction of the wind. He follows radar stations in Churchill, Manitoba down to Oklahoma, the Stanhope live eye cam, and keeps his eye on hurricanes starting off the coast of Africa.
“It’s not just a couple second process,” he said. “I really actually spend quality time [on it]. I never profess to be a meteorologist. Those guys went to school for it, they do their thing, they probably understand more than I even do, but I enjoy it. And that’s why I do it.”
He developed an interest in weather at a very young age, recalling seeing his first tornado with his dad when he was just 10 or 11.
“I was just a little kid out in the middle of Muskoka,” he said. “He pointed it out to me and said, ‘Hey, there’s a tornado over there.’ So I rode my bike down, and there was 600 feet of trees missing. It was awesome.”
He still marvels about the massive snowstorm that buried Minden from Moore Falls to the bottom of 12 Mile Lake one December about a decade ago.
“We got about 150-some-odd centimetres in 30 hours,” he said. “Nobody said that we were going to get that. Somebody missed. Somebody missed bad. I might have been online looking at stuff, but I never really focused on it until after that happened.“
Moore details the weather for the day, but also overnight, sometimes posting later in the evening to keep people up-to-date.
“If I’m at home and can look at it, I say, listen, this is the chance we have for thunderstorms or snowstorms overnight,” he said. “And people will look at that, because it’ll control what they’re doing, or dictate what they’re doing.”
As a result, he’s been able to help people find the perfect window in rough weather to drive to Ottawa, though he clarifies that just like meteorologists, he’s not perfect. Not for lack of trying, though.
“I actually have not missed a day,” he said, noting his passion saw him posting from Florida while on vacation, and that people ask where he is online if he hasn’t posted. “The one day I was in a spot where I had no internet access for 12 hours, and I still got home at 8 o’clock at night and posted something that said, ‘wasn’t that an awesome day?’ because I said the day before we were going to have an awesome day.”
Despite the work it takes to study the data and post every day, Moore said it’s worth it if he can help.
“Somebody asked me the other day, they said, when is the pressure going to change, because I’ve had a headache for two days,” said Moore. He said being aware of weather coming and going can help understand aches and pains in the body. “They’re just numbers, but they mean something to somebody’s head,” he said.
Moore said there are many days in which he can’t believe his early morning habit has led to a regular following on social media, but that it’s fun to be able to translate the hobby into something helpful for others.
“I still enjoy doing it,” he said. “When I stop enjoying it is when I will stop. But I enjoy it. It’s my morning. It’s what I do.“