Met Office severe weather warning ignored in Northern Ireland

With the Met Office’s forecasting ability already turning it a laughing stock, their ‘nowcasting’ prowess seems to be in freefall too. Currently in Belfast, where substantial snow and ice has caused all manner of problems, the weather is a matter of major interest.

The temperature, having risen well above freezing, had started a thaw yesterday.  As the snow and ice receded the rain started to fall, accelerating the melt and turning people’s concerns to the possibility of burst pipes – of which there have been thousands over the last week. So given the conditions it was a surprise to see a severe weather warnining issued by the Met Office leading on the BBC Northern Ireland homepage:

However, no severe weather was forthcoming.  In fact the temperature has stayed stubbornly above 5C and the persistent rain has washed away all but a few clumps of compacted ice. The winter wonderland has given way to green fields under the miserable grey sky. In fact, rain was the only thing Accuweather were predicting while the Met Office was making people worried about severe weather that never materialised.

Unsurprisingly the BBC is now leading with a thaw story and the reports of the severe weather have been quietly buried. Despite the Met Office severe weather warning, the NI Roads Service did not grit the roads and is more concerned about water than the predicted ice. That has to tell people something about the extent of trust, or otherwise, in the Met Office’s releases:

2 Responses to “Met Office severe weather warning ignored in Northern Ireland”


  1. 1 AJC 27/12/2010 at 5:12 pm

    Isn’t the problem that the Met Office forecasts aren’t so accurate that you can be certain that the weather will do precisely the opposite?

  2. 2 Tufty 27/12/2010 at 8:19 pm

    I don’t see why the Met Office can’t be sold off. Last year Vosper Thornycroft expressed an interest, but I don’t think it went anywhere. There are commercial forecasters who seem to be at least as good and they don’t waste taxpayer’s money pushing climate astrology.


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