OTTAWA — Environment Canada is going mobile.
The federal agency launched its first weather app for iPhone and Android this week, including a new high-resolution radar option so amateur meteorologists can guess exactly when the next rain storm or blizzard is going to hit their backyard.
WeatherCAN is free, can be operated in English or French, and includes Indigenous symbols for northern locations.
Push notifications warning of extreme weather are also an option.
There are any number of other weather apps on the market, but Environment Canada had never bothered to make one for itself until now, despite getting 40 million hits to its website every month and being the source of weather data used by many other weather apps.
"We are the experts," said Environment Minister Catherine McKenna in an interview.
McKenna said she was surprised when she took office that Environment Canada didn't have its own presence on smartphones.
"With how much Canadians care about weather, I realized there was an opportunity to have a tool," she said.
The app tracks 10,000 Canadian locations, from the biggest cities to the smallest town in the country — Tilt Cove, N.L.
According to the app, the four people who live there were expecting about 10 centimetres of snow overnight.
The radar map available on the app is four times better than others currently available, but — as is often the case with anyone trying to predict the weather — the new app comes with an immediate caveat not to trust everything it says.
"Weather conditions in your location may differ from information available to (Environment and Climate Change Canada)," it says in the terms and conditions you must accept before gaining entry.
- The Canadian Press