Met Office in the Media: 20 September 2011

20 09 2011

There has been widespread coverage in the media today about an impending cold winter and snow in October.  Britain faces an early big freeze in the Express and Britain to be hit by snow in October… in the Daily Mail both report that Exacta Weather forecast snow in parts of the UK as early as next month.  It should be made clear that these forecasts for the coming months are not from the Met Office. When we asked the public what types of forecasts they would like you told us that you would find a monthly forecast more useful. Currently this forecast, which is updated regularly with the latest forecast information, takes us through the first few weeks of October and says:

Temperatures are expected to be around normal for the time of year across much of the UK by day, dropping below normal at night, especially across the Midlands and southeast, leading to an increased incidence of overnight frosts. The cooler conditions at night will be mitigated by day in some parts by sunnier than normal weather, with both the far south and far north of the country favoured to see above normal amounts of sunshine, with nearer normal sunshine hours elsewhere. Rainfall amounts are correspondingly likely to be a little below average in most areas, especially in the west.

To provide some context it certainly would not be a surprise to see overnight frosts and even some snow across higher parts of Scotland in October. Historically, looking at the long term climatology, snow falls on around 3 or 4 days in a typical October across the Highlands of Scotland and on 1 or 2 days in the Southern Uplands and northern Pennines.

Therefore, it’s never too early to be prepared for winter – especially as we know from experience the types of severe weather we can see  in the UK during the winter months. 

As a result it is vital that service providers, ahead of any winter, have plans in place to respond to Met Office 1-5 day forecasts and warnings.  These provide good advice, and can be used with a relatively high degree of confidence. Therefore the Met Office has been working with service providers such as BAA and DH to help them develop robust plans and prepare for any severe weather.

It is out short term forecasts, used for example by government, local councils, train, air and road operators that can help to minimise the impacts of severe weather on you and your community.


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2 responses

21 09 2011
David Jamieson (@justdaj)

I never believe anything if the source is the Daily Mail. Glad you cleared things up!

11 10 2011
willc9999

OK so you have clarified the origin of the Daily Mail forecast, and restated your own policy on sticking to one month ahead only – but what’s the Met Office’s official line on (a) the ExactaWeather forecast for winter 2011-12 and (b) their solar-based methods?
I am sceptical that something as simplistic can be as accurate as they maintain. Specifically, even if the jet stream gets stuck in a meandering pattern as they suggest, is it any more likely we (as in the UK) will end up in a cold or warm loop?

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