Canadian Locations Not Being Considered This Year

By Commissioner in Miscellaneous | 03/27/2018

Many players have yearned for Canadian locations to be added to the game. It was being considered as a proposed rule change for this season, but was untimely rejected due to a few issues.

The 33 locations that were found to be eligible to become apart of Fantasy Blizzard. Enlarge

Before the beginning of the 2017-2018 season, effort was put in to try and get Canadian locations into the game. After combing through a couple hundred Canadian climate locations available through Environment Canada, 33 were found to be eligible for the game. There were a handful more, but we thought only stations south of 60°N should be considered. Anything further north could lead to cheap HDD points.

What makes a location eligible for scoring? The answer is pretty simple. It must give us the three data pieces we need for scoring.

  • The location must provide a daily high and low temperate in order to compute heating degree days.
  • The location must provide a daily maximum gust speed.
  • The location must provide a daily snow measurement.

Each Canadian climate site provides temperatures, but measured in Celsius. That's not a big deal as most 5th graders could make the conversion. Where things get a little uncomfortable is what to do about rounding as that could give or take a point away. That's something that probably wouldn't cause an uproar.

For maximum wind gust speed, a similar concern exist as that value is measured in kilometers per hour and would need to be converted to miles per hour with questions about rounding. Again, that's something that most players could probably live with.

Finally, for snow, that too is metric based and is measured in centimeters and would need to be converted, but that's not the biggest concern for snow. According to the FAQ page on Environment Canada, here is how they measure snow.

At Environment Canada, snow is measured by automated observing stations which register the snowfall and snow-on-ground amounts, using an acoustic snow sensor (SR-50). The automated sites report snowfall amounts hourly in centimetres.

At staffed stations, the snow amount or the depth of accumulated snow-on-ground is measured using a snow ruler or a ruler calibrated to centimetres. The measurements are made at several points which appear representative of the immediate area, and then averaged. Snow is normally measured in "centimetres".

For comparison with the NOAA here in the United States, all snow is measured by hand at all climates that provide snow measurement. The fact that some locations in Canada are measured automatically and not by hand give us a great deal of reservation. A drift or gust of wind removing the snow from the ground could skew the numbers unfairly one way and controversy is one thing we're looking to limit.

All of the issues listed above could be dealt with to get a few more dozen locations into the game, but there's one problem that we feel is a deal breaker on its own. NOAA daily climate sites run from 12am local standard time to 12am local standard time; however, Environment Canada's climate sites run from 6z to 6z from coast to coast so we'd have two different scoring time periods on our hands. That could lead to a new level of strategy, but keeping the game straight forward is one thing we're trying to keep.

It's not to stay that Canadian locations will never see the light of day, but for this time around, we have elected to keep them out of consideration, especially with the handful of other ideas that are up for debate this year.