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Environment Canada suffers setback after fire destroys weather station

Wednesday, April 7th 2021, 1:29 pm - An Environment and Climate Change Canada weather station that was destroyed in a fire in Iqaluit, Nunavut Monday could have implications on the agency's forecasting abilities.

A fire that burned down an Environment and Climate Change Canada weather station office in Iqaluit, Nunavut Monday could have a negative impact on its forecasting data across the country.

According to a City of Iqaluit news release, the RCMP and Nunavut’s fire marshal are investigating the cause of the blaze that destroyed the agency's weather station office in Iqaluit’s West 40 area. At this time the cause of the fire is still unknown.

RELATED: Crews respond to structure fire near Iqaluit airport

The Weather Network meteorologist Michael Carter said the foundation of all weather forecasting begins with observations. It's important to gather data from as many locations as possible to "fully understand it" since the atmosphere is a single, connected system.

"We need to measure the present state of the atmosphere in as much detail as possible before we can begin to predict how the weather will change over time to create a forecast," said Carter.

Iqaluit fire burns down Environment Canada station/Dustin Patar A fire burned down an Environment and Climate Change Canada weather station office in Iqaluit, Nunavut Monday. Photo: Dustin Patar/Nunatsiaq News.

The data gathered from stations like Iqaluit are key for meteorologists when it comes to forecasting the weather, Carter noted, both locally and around the globe.

"And so the stations in more remote locations, where observations are fewer and farther between, become especially important sources for meteorologists," said Carter.

Emergency crews were called to the scene Monday at around 3 p.m. after reports of smoke in the area, according to the City of Iqaluit. Upon arrival, firefighters saw flames on one side of the building operated by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The city's news release also stated the blaze was eventually contained by more than a dozen firefighters and six fire vehicles before it spread to nearby buildings and vehicles.

With files from City of Iqaluit and CBC.

Thumbnail courtesy of Dustin Patar/Nunatsiaq News.

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