Big Canoe Climate Project: Analyzed Our Weather for 33 Years

Pictured: Joe Raley

Ever wonder about those monthly Big Canoe weather reports that appear on Thursdays in the Inside the Gates weekly newsletter or in the pages of Smoke Signals?

These summaries of the previous month’s weather are the handiwork of Joe Raley and Bill McClatchey, a pair of Big Canoe residents who monitor the rainfall and temperatures in Big Canoe measured by meterological equipm

ent in our community. On top Disharoon Mountain, a thermometer offer the hyperlocal weather information available as it “collects temperature data every 15 seconds,” says Joe.

Joe supervises the Big Canoe Climate Project, a volunteer group dedicated to the collection and publication of climate data in our community. This originated in 1989 when Bob Battle, a former editor of Smoke Signals, began measuring the weather publishing the data in the 1980s. That role was inherited by Bennet Whipple in 2012. Joe Raley has managed things since 2019.

“Bennett approached me and said he was looking for volunteers for the Big Canoe Climate project that was easy, not time-consuming and the only thing I needed was a garden variety Rain Gauge,” Joe says.

The Project has yet to miss a reporting deadline and as a result has no data gaps since its 1989 launch.

Joe utilizes several area resources to create his report, which includes the rainfall measurement at his Wet Mountain home and rainfall measurements from 3 different locations on the Golf Course provided by the POA’s Golf Maintenance staff. Bill McClatchey and Scott Lehmann, residents of Big Canoe, also provide digitized temperature data which is collected 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year by computerized Weather Stations installed at their homes.

Once he receives all of these reports, Joe feeds the data into a program he created. This program generates the temperature and rainfall averages that are published in Smoke Signals News and Inside the Gates online. Due to the project’s data reporting, Joe can not only compare the numbers from the previous year but also the numbers from decades ago.

“Man’s want to capture data about the natural world appears to be in his DNA,” Joe says.

Click here to view the weather data from the Disharoon Mountain station.



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