Hats off to the Met Office
Posted on January 20, 2013
Our dear friends at The Met Office cop a lot of stick from the British public, periodically taking the blame for failing to predict wet summers and cold winters. However, in their defence, we live in a kingdom where predicting the weather is notoriously difficult because it is virtually always under the influence of ever changing weather patterns happening out in the Atlantic. That’s why, over the last week, I have been so impressed by the accuracy of their (the Met Office) snow predictions; incredibly, they have been correct almost to the hour. That takes some doing, especially when you consider how localised snow can be.
As an example, two years ago, I drove from pouring rain in central Reading into a major blizzard in Basingstoke where six inches of snow fell in just over an hour whilst ten miles down the road in Winchester, it was also raining. Being geographically just a few hundred feet higher can make all the difference and around these parts we are anything up to 650 feet above sea level in comparison to the Thames Valley which is approximately two hundred feet above. Imagine trying to forecast heavy snowfall that locally?
Of course the Met Office don’t help themselves sometimes by stupidly offering vague monthly and even seasonal forecasts (remember the famous Barbecue summer?) that the public and particular, the press, take as read. The Daily Mail and The Daily Express in particular, like to whip up a frenzy to spread widespread alarm about the dastardly eastern Europeans sending over an icy blast that will steal our jobs and kill pensioners. What they won’t tell you is the Met Office correctly predicted three to four inches of snow in this area on Friday, yet, by Thursday night, the shelves in Sainsbury’s had been emptied by people not paying attention to the facts and believing the utter “snowmageddon” bullshit that was being printed in the tabloids.
Snow falling on my way home from Wokingham on Friday afternoon
What I find staggering is that we live in age where the correct short term information can be found easily on computers, phones and tablets via the BBC Weather website that is constantly updating, yet people still choose websites such as the masters of bullshit MetCheck, who constantly give hysteria driven false information; perhaps they are owned by Paul Dacre, the cretinous editor of the masters of alarm, The Daily Mail? If you look on Met Check now, it says that tonight the temperature tonight in Basingstoke will be -12c. That is nothing other than a complete and utter lie.
As I write this, we are experiencing light snow whilst to the east of us in London, Surrey, Kent and Essex they are under a more substantial band of the white stuff. Being something of a sad case, I have followed the Met Office tracking of this weather system since Friday and I am really impressed how they (the Met office) have nailed it to within a few miles of their prediction. A friend of mine in London who is not as geeky as me when it comes to meteorology, rang me last night safe in the knowledge I could give her an update for work purposes and the information that I offered her courtesy of the met office was spot on to the hour. I can’t help but be impressed by that.
So, if you really want to know what the weather is going to do in your region, go to the BBC website. It might not always be 100% correct but it is the most accurate place two get a forecast for up to five days. Any more than that and UK forecasting becomes guess work and it has to be said that their monthly outlook is a waste of web space, with this particular recent line being a source of amusement: “There is more than average uncertainty as we head into the beginning of February, with no strong signal for any particular weather type to dominate.” Why bother even writing that? It reminded me of the huge electric sign I keep reading on the Basingstoke ring road that says “NO REPORTED INCIDENTS.” Is it just me, or is that not someone reporting that there is nothing to report?
Anyway, take it from a geek who knows, the BBC is the only place to go to for a sensible weather update. If however, you prefer to indulge in a bit of meteorological erotica, go and get a copy of The Express and log on to MetCheck.