Monday, 15 December 2008

Bad weather NOT forecast by Piers Corbyn

It was a week ago when I last blogged about the latest forecast by Piers Corbyn of Piers reckoned we would get a storm that weekend, he was as usual totally wrong. No prophecy was made on his website of the very poor weather we experienced in the southwest over this most recent weekend. The heavy rain led to very bad conditions on the roads and curtailment of some rail journeys. East Devon and Somerset were particularly affected and sadly an elderly gent in the latter county lost his life when his car was trapped in the floodwater. I'm not aware of any properties getting flooded locally but the Tamar burst its banks, making the riverside path impassable in places. The Tamar has a habit of rising and falling very quickly and with a full moon the other day we now have spring tides which doesn't help.

On the summary page on the Weatheraction website the next storm of note is around Christmas Eve. Will Piers manage to get it right this time?


Mattie said...

Yes, it was forecast. It specifically said deluges for that period.

It is completely illogical to dwell on the small proportion of times Piers gets it wrong.

Take for example Summer floods of 2007 and 2008.

Michael Fish was only remembered for not predicting the 1987 storm. Forecasters always remembered for the wrong reasons.

brian in the tamar valley said...

Hi Mattie and thank you for commenting! I've just been looking at the homepage of and see that Piers is very busy congratulating himself on his success for that weekend. I've only been able to go by what he puts in summary on his home page and he had particularly highlighted the storms that he thought were going to be significant and there wasn't one for that weekend.

Interestingly the information that related to these specific forecast storms has been pulled from his home page. Why I ask myself.

Piers states he had a long range weather warning for 10th-13th Dec which absolutely came true. So congratulations to him! But I have to repeat that the storm forecast for the previous weekend most certainly didn't materialise.

To be entirely objective I guess it would be necessary to purchase the detailed forecasts from 'weatheraction', compare them with his much vaguer summary on the homepage and then with the reality of events.

And yes Piers was pretty good on the summer floods as you say and yes it's easy of course to dwell on certain times when things go wrong. However I totally disagree with your thoughts which suggest that Piers gets it wrong only a "small proportion of times"! If you look at my review of his forecast for last October for instance I demonstrated that he was wrong in every respect for that month. And I've blogged on many other examples where he has been well adrift.

Mattie said...

He didn't get October wrong in every respect at all. His forecast the Wintry showers quite a lot of the time in the north and it was a colder month than average as he predicted.

Also very importantly he got right the hail storm towards the end of the month.

Do you look at where he states the uncertainties in his forecast.

This year he has been roughly 70% correct looking at his forecasts throughout the year which is pretty good.

Please put the met office under the same scrutiny. They can still be very bad and for a much shorter time frame.

Mattie said...

Please also look at the confidence levels for his forecasts.

Ulric said...

More often than not, Piers is actually totally right. You will need to purchase the monthly forecast, or mail Piers for a copy to verify that it was well forecast. The only details of the December forecast that were released, was about a storm expected on Xmas eve, so warnings of the 11th to 14th period never were on the home page, and not at (global) either.

Mattie said...

Why don't you purchase a forecast? They're not a fortune.

The met office missed the fact last week that this week would start cold. Piers got it right.

You should very soon see he is more often right than not.

brian in the tamar valley said...

Mattie and Ulric - I've only just had the chance to update my blog and I've made an unreserved apology for misrepresenting Piers on this particular occasion.

Regarding criticism of my review of what Piers forecast for October I stand by what I wrote. Piers had reckoned on cold weather mainly and then milder later. This was the exact opposite timewise. You may recall that the UK had a vicious arctic blast over the last 6 or 7 days of the month when the suggestion from Piers was that it should get milder! No wonder the month overall was cooler than average with those plummeting temperatures.

As to the hailstorm that had such a devastating effect on a very confined area of East Devon it was such a localised and freak event that I would be truly amazed if that was the storm foreseen by Piers.

I'm very aware that Piers flags up uncertainties in many of his forecasts but I have to take them at face value or I would never comment on them at all!

Yes you are right that the Met Office can be very bad in their medium to long term forecasts although improving a lot on their five day ones I feel.

I would like to believe Piers but he has made some truly dreadful howlers. No doubt I shall be commenting one way or another on his Xmas Eve/Xmas Day warnings of dramatic weather in due course.

Ulric, I can tell you without any doubt at all that Piers HAD placed some of his other forecast December storms on the homepage. What has happened is that the particular part of the summary relating to this has been removed so that now the only reference to a new storm is that on Xmas Eve. It's a trick that Piers has used before or perhaps he was just so keen to congratulate himself on getting a weather event spot on that something else had to be removed.

BF said...

Dear Brian

Whatever "truly dreadful howlers" Piers Corbyn has made with his long range forecasts, they pale in comparison with the truly dreadful howlers of the likes of James Hansen and his fellow hardcore "activist-scientists" who are entrenched within the UN-IPCC and the Real Climate website.

Hansen's 1988 forecast to congress was grossly exaggerated

IPCC, 2007: Climate Change 2007 compared to Actual Temperature

As we can all see, Hansen and the IPCC show absolutely no skill whatsoever with their forecasting and yet they cost the public tens of millions of pounds. On the other hand, Corbyn consistently show a commendably high level of skill with his forecasts, yet they cost at most just a few thousand pounds in their most detailed form.