Their hobby? weather! | Press
The weather is often a favorite topic when exchanging small talk. But for some, the weather is not trivial: it is a real passion. A few enthusiasts have even created groups where tens of thousands of subscribers rave about predictions and other great events. We met some of them.
This is the work of Saguenean Jimmy Desbiens, the man behind the Météo Chicoutimi website. Although not proud to be a reference for the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, its Facebook page has 55,000 followers.
Autodidact transmits to its subscribers very local forecasts and observations, which are often different from the forecasts of national networks. With good reason, Jimmy Desbiens has many weather stations – now 25 – covering a large area from Girardville to L’Anse-Saint-Jean.
There was a lack of information as there were only two public weather stations in the region broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“We have Lac Saint-Jean, which creates its own phenomena. We have the Parc des Laurentides, a monster of weather forecasts. There’s also the Monts Valin and the Saguenay Fjord, which is another thing, which creates a different weather for us,” explains Jimmy Desbiens.
Fascinated by weather phenomena since childhood, he started making forecasts and observations, which he published on his personal Facebook page. “Once upon a time, I had a lot of friend requests. It grew so much that I opened a public page,” he says.
“I run on emotions and exciting, says Jimmy Desbiens. Let’s say there’s a week where nothing happens, I’ll be tired. I want to move. “If it’s a very quiet winter week, we could also see Jimmy Desbiens looking for storms. The enthusiast prides himself on having at least a “micro-experience in a microclimate that is the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region”.
“Enthusiasts bring a lot of local precision,” emphasizes Celini Ehret. The director of a web software development team has his own weather station at home in Saint-Laurent, Montreal. He publishes his predictions and various other information on his website and Twitter account.
Several people ask him if these are better than MétéoMédia. “I always reply: ‘I’ll let you look and compare my predictions with others.’ However, it has some advantages, he says. “I update the data every 15 minutes and only cover Montreal. »
Célini Ehret developed her fascination with the weather with her father’s rain gauge. “I was asking myself why the weather is fine today and why it’s raining tomorrow.” All possible variables are of interest to him, be it wind and its directions, temperature, amount of precipitation or intensity of the sun.
His motivation: “to have the most accurate predictions,” he says. Meteorology is a science, but an inexact one. “We can’t plan three weeks in advance,” explains Celini Ehret. We are able to provide weather information in the next three hours, but this requires two to three days of calculations. Having long-term projections is exponential. »
He shares his passion with other enthusiasts, especially on discussion forums. “We can talk about observations, predictions with supporting maps. It helps in knowledge. But “you have to be humble,” he agrees.
Célini Ehret, who is originally from France, notes that there is a great interest in the weather in Quebec. “It’s part of everyday life, and it’s very diverse here,” he explains.
A unifying interest
“Everyone finds their own account,” says Eric Touraneau, administrator of the Weather Lovers Facebook group. It is said by those who know little about it, but only those who are interested, such as meteorologists.
Éric Touraneau considers himself an aerial photographer, “storm chasing comes with that,” he says. In 2000, he created a website to share his photos. The latter quickly attracted the attention of fans of other meteorological phenomena.
Now they have almost 37,000 members of the Facebook group, mostly for posting photos but also videos or questions about the weather. When there are specific events, Éric passes on a few observations, but he always emphasizes that this is an amateur prediction.
“I just explain things, I think the world likes it, and I put a little humor in it,” said Eric Turangeau, who “doesn’t want to be a meteorologist in any way.” And for more specific questions? “A few more knowledgeable people are answering questions,” he says.
The group administrator wants people to take the time to observe and appreciate the beauty of the weather. No need to act like him and spend sleepless nights (or almost) chasing storms. “I just want people to look around,” he says.