Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Express weather forecasts: Give em enough rope!

It’s that time of the year again. A time when the Daily Express splashes its Siberian Winter hokum across the front page. Actually, that’s not strictly true. Whatever the season, The Express is happy to inform its readers that it will be the 'coldest, hottest, wettest, windiest' etc, season on record. Accompanied of course by the appropriate buzz words.. ‘Arctic, Siberian, Tropical, Scorching, devastating’.

Yesterday The Express was at it again with its resident weather wizard, Nathan Reo-who presumably is on an extended work experience stint from some failing local comp?- telling us of a ‘Polar Vortex Warning’ which shows that the UK faces months of heavy snow. Never one to knowingly undersell a headline, Reo kicks off with-

"a freak series of rare atmospheric events is set to plunge Britain into the worst winter of modern times with heavy snow paralyzing the entire country within weeks!.'

“Shocked forecasters warned tonight the latest high-tech weather models point to a CATASTROPHIC big freeze in late 2014 with THREE MONTHS of blizzards and Arctic gales.They fear a lethal and unprecedented combination of low pressure, above-average rainfall and a freak Polar vortex will come together in a perfect storm of misery for Winter 2014 .Moist air from the Atlantic currently causing the mild, wet and windy weather threatens to collide with bitter arctic winds.It means a dramatic plunge in the current mild temperatures will turn torrential rain to blizzards capable of smothering the ENTIRE COUNTRY in feet-deep snowdrifts.’

Funnily enough, The Independent had a different take on the long range UK weather forecast: Quoting from The UK's Met Office, a spokesman offered... “Our latest three-month outlook suggests an increased risk of milder and wetter than average conditions for the period November-December-January based on our seasonal forecasts and those from other leading centres around the world.’

This is the highly respected Meteorological Office who are using their own data and that of other official bodies around the world. However The Express prefers to use agencies that no one has ever heard of. In this case,  'James Madden, forecaster for Exacta Weather'?? George Monbiot writing in the Guardian was forced to ask in an article published in 2012, If Extacta Weather and another much quoted weather forecasting company-Positive Weather Solutions- actually existed. Well they do it appears and they’ve even got their own Facebook page. Although if the aforementioned Mr Madden’s forecasts are anything to go by, you’d be better advised using the Met Office’s free and generally accurate service.

By today though, Mr Reo had tailored his latest briefing to  “Britain is braced for storm chaos tomorrow with 70mph gales and torrential downpours forecast for parts of the country.’.

In the wonderful world of Mr Reo and the Daily Express, it’s never ‘mild but a bit on the cloudy side’!

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