Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Met Office downgrades summer forecast

A really embarrassing day for the Exeter Met Office. Before the start of summer they had confidently predicted that there would be a "barbecue summer" in 2009. They have chosen one of the wettest days of this soggy July to severely downgrade expectations for the rest of the season. Once again it is the fault of the jet stream: in June it looked as if it would ensure most of the nasty 'lows' would be tracking eastward with their centres way up toward the north of Scotland. That was June. Now the jet stream is much much further south resulting in our area getting plenty of miserable weather reminiscent of our two previous 'summers'.

The Met Office were extremely unwise to use the words "barbecue summer". They had included some caveats in their long range forecast which wasn't quite so optimistic as people are perhaps making out. But what the MO and anyone else liable to make public statements in this media driven age really have to understand is that people always remember short snappy phrases and soundbites no matter what other message surrounds them. In this case just those two words "barbecue summer".

Quite correctly the forecasters have pointed out the drier than usual June with a good Wimbledon fortnight and even Glastonbury didn't get much of the wet stuff. The thing is though that anyone with children doesn't think of June as being part of summer (although it obviously is and contains the longest day). No it's when school holidays start that a lot of people think about summer weather. But there we go. So will the Met Office stick their necks out prior to summer 2010?

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