Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Weather

Everyone up here has been complaining about the wild inaccuracy of our official weather forecasts this year. I know it's a thankless task, predicting the weather in the UK, but this summer there have been complaints on two 'fronts' so to speak!
Firstly, our London centred media keep banging on about the truly awful summer (and it has been and continues to be appalling in parts of the UK) that we have had, as usual lumping the entire country into one sweeping assessment. This can't be doing our Scottish tourist industry much good especially since here, we have had reasonable weather - reasonable for the West of Scotland anyway - our usual mix of sunshine, rather frequent showers, some lovely days, some downpour days, and - with a couple of chilly exceptions - quite a bit of warm weather. Condition normal, in other words. Not a brilliant summer, and absolutely no sign of the drought that was confidently predicted by those same knowledgable media types (what price all those 'plan your drought friendly garden' articles now?) but not the worst I have seen either. And I believe that some of the Scottish isles have had lots of wonderful sunny weather - which never gets reported at all.
The second complaint though has been about a frustrating day to day inaccuracy. You look at the TV weather forecast for the next day, plan accordingly, and then find that - in Scotland at least - none of what has been predicted bears any relation to what happens in reality. Worse, even their real time forecasts can be wrong. I have often watched a television weather forecast, which is confidently telling me that it is pouring with rain outside, while in reality the sun is shining fiercely from a blue sky. Strong winds are forecast and don't arrive. Sometimes too there is a complete discrepancy between the forecasts on different TV channels. On the whole, the trend seems to be to predict much worse weather, here in the Scotland at any rate, than we are actually experiencing on the ground. All of which leads people to wonder if there is some conspiracy afoot to deter tourists from heading north. Which can't possibly be true. But why are they hedging their bets so much?
One more little thought.
The terrible flooding will no doubt be labelled as 'climate change' related. Of course it could have nothing whatsoever to do with greedy developers increasingly building on the flood plains of rivers, and planners allowing them to do it. Could it?

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