Thursday, July 30, 2009

Barbecue summer

Good news! Presumably because it’s raining so much, the Met Office has revised its original forecast of a glorious ‘barbecue summer’ and is instead predicting another washout, so now’s the time to invest in sunhats and tanning lotion.

On watching again Michael Fish’s infamous forecast the night before the 1987 Great Storm, I’m struck by the complete assurance with which Fish dismisses the warnings of the silly lady who “apparently rung the BBC and said she heard that there was a hurricane on the way.” He is wholly convincing.



It’s always fun when the BBC does a feature on the meteorologists. They speak so confidently. Behold the wondrous technology, marvel at the great scientific leaps! They smile wisely. Beautiful graphics show great weather fronts gliding and splurging across the oceans. This time they’ve cracked it.

Like financial 'forecasters' or sociologists, they must maintain the delusion with an unfaltering poker-face, or their whole raison d’etre disappears and they’d have to get honest jobs. What strange games we play.

11 comments:

Hey Skipper said...

I wouldn't invest in sunhats and tanning lotion just yet.

Here in Cambridge, it is 18C with showers.

Ben said...

I saw this on the news yesterday, including complaints from a full-grown man who had believed the "Barbecue summer" story so much that he had invested in a new horse and cart for his take-the-tourists-on-horse-and-cart-rides business.
He appeared to have ignored the weatherman's inability to forecast a day ahead and instead relied on him forecasting a season ahead!

David said...

Feeling a little bitter this week towards those that claim to be able to schedule the future, are we?

martpol said...

We've stopped trusting the Met Office after 3 years attending the Glastonbury festival. Folks on the forums start predicting a glorious summer six months in advance of the festival; then the Met gets in on the act a couple of months later; various websites turn on their own guess machines; five days before the event we think we can finally trust it all.

Then we get on the coach and, like the random results of a fruit machine in the hands of a dunce, all the weather symbols spin wildly and summer fails once more to pay out.

malty said...

Spent part of today driving into the lakes, as thousands of refugees, looking like those on the roads from Paris in 1940, headed in the opposite direction, rain soaked, hacked off, car full of screaming retching sprogs, mud spattered bikes on roof rack, wives pouring over sun spot brochures, all had headed for the English lakes inc with high expectations, on the recommendation of that prune in the met office.
It's all the fault of the jet stream they say, lying sods.
Talking about sprogs Brit, hurry up.

worm said...

I was reading a book the other day about the met office ( - and about other things too - i'm not THAT boring) which was talking about the language they have to use when making a forecast - apparently viewers respond unfavourably when told the naked truth, so must be told 'happy' things:

(these are from the met office memo for presenters)

so, 'chilly in areas' became 'warm for most'

'isolated storms' became 'hot and sunny for most'

and 'often cloudy' must be reported as 'generally clear'

Matt said...

Here's Kelly Bundy, weathergirl extraordinaire.

Brit said...

It appears we've got a lazy one, Malty. If nothing doing by Wednesday, which seems likely, they're going to force the bugger out.

worm said...

have they tried luring it out by placing a trail of rusks near the entrance?

monix said...

Brit, that is no way to speak about my grandchild. I'll just say like father like .......

Sean said...

I like the American way.

"today in smalltown there is a 60% chance of precipitation"

Not very intellectual and all, but it sort tells you all you need to know in a country were it can and does rain 12 months of the year.