Christchurch boy enjoys weather fame

WEATHER MAN: Burnside High pupil Josh Oliver had an instant hit with a Facebook weather page.
WEATHER MAN: Burnside High pupil Josh Oliver had an instant hit with a Facebook weather page.

This week's perfect storm of weather events has catapaulted a Christchurch schoolboy to Facebook fame.

Josh Oliver, 16, started a weather page because he's "always really enjoyed the weather".

It was at the suggestion of a friend that he created the Facebook page Canterbury Weather Updates at the end of May.

It languished with a few hundred fans, "then when it started to rain here in Christchurch, everything started to go a bit wild", he said.

He has now leapt to over 18,000 ''likes'' in the space of a few days.

He works out the forecasts using data freely available from the Air Resources Laboratory in the United States because he "didn't want to be accused of copying what MetService do".

He taught himself to interpret the graphs and data, with help from an online community of weather enthusiasts.

Josh is keen to point out he is just learning. "I'm not a forecaster;- I'm an enthusiast."

But the Burnside High School year 12 pupil might pursue a career in meteorology.

"Whether I will end up being a weather analyst or not I don't know, but I definitely want to continue the interest."

Local weather commentator Richard Green has joined the team to help Josh with the page.

''He has a natural flair for the weather. He can interpret it and put it into layman's terms. For a 16-year-old that's quite remarkable,'' said Green.

''There's nowhere else in the country where this would take off like this,'' Green said.

''Cantabrians love their weather.''

Josh encourages Cantabrians to send in their weather photos, and he is preparing for an inundation of snowman photos over the next few days.

But is it going to snow? Josh is non-committal.

"The temperatures at the moment are looking too high for snow to sea level,'' he said.

''I'm 100 per cent sure we will see snowflakes falling in the city, but I'm not going to say we're going to get 15 centimetres settle because we can't be sure."

That might not be much help for school mates who want to know whether they will get a snow day.

This weather enthusiast is excited for whatever comes.

The Press