Last night I remarked to Julia that we could make great economies in the cost of TV by simply junking all the local TV weather presenters. They simply stand around, look vacuous and get things wrong in front of a green screen.
Last night’s forecast was a typical example, as a woman in an unsuitably garish dress stood up and revealed that by 5.00pm it would probably be raining very close to a dot in the midlands that had “Nottingham” written by it. It was no more informative than the national forecast had been, though we’d had to guess the position of Nottingham.
She disagreed. Well, she always does. The local forecasts, she tells me, are essential to her work in the gardens.
OK, I said, let’s see what 5.00 brings.
Well, 4.00 brought heavy rain. It was so heavy that it was bouncing up about a foot after hitting the car roof. I watched from inside the shop and mentioned the fact that it wasn’t supposed to rain until it virtually missed us at 5.00.
“It says,” said one of the others, checking the internet, “that we currently have a 49% chance of rain.”
“That means,” said, “that this is what a 51% chance of no rain looks like.”
It looked very wet.
Julia told me, when she got home, that her internet had shown a 90% chance of rain when she checked at 5.00. By that time she was on the way home after being comprehensively soaked. She still wouldn’t admit t6hat the local forecast was useless.
Me? I’m sure that in the days of my youth we used to laugh at the uselessness of forecasting. Later, when I was in my 30s, I used to find the farming forecast quite accurate. Now it seems that they are variable. Sometimes they are still brilliant, but other times bear only a coincidental resemblance to what was prophesied. You can still select a week to go on holiday, maybe even a day for a daytrip, but if they predict rain in the afternoon I’d allow a 12 hour window and pack a mac just to be on the safe side.
As for the internet prediction, we can all be wise after the event. It’s a bit like my grandad’s weather forecasting seaweed that used to hang on his back wall. As he once told me, you can tell the weather from that. If you feel the seaweed and it feels wet, it means it’s raining.
Of course, both my grandfather’s lived in Lancashire. That’s the county where they say that if you can look out to sea and see the Isle of Man, it means it’s going to rain. If you can’t see the Isle of Man, it already is raining.
As for local weather, there have been days when it has rained on my neighbor’s property and not mine. 🙂
🙂 I suppose that could be good or bad, depending on your need for water.
If you use Facebook one of the many sites is called ‘UK Weather Forecasts – Discussion’ and their top Admin/contributor is called Lewis Dobson. He is an excellent short-term forecaster (though not infallible) and is usually spot-on with his long-range forecasts. There is an associated group called Weather Watchers and Lewis has also created a private weather group with a yearly fee which offers all sorts of apps showing weather patterns etc. I find Lewis is more reliable than the Met Office or the presenters on TV/radio.
“If you use Facebook . . .” Ha! WP and email are about as far as I get with technology. I was thinking about trying Whatsapp but decided against it as I may have to talk to people. Particularly the kids when they want me to do something.
However, apart from that, it sounds like a good system and restores my faith in forecasting, which has declined over the last ten years.
I do go on Facebook for the Numismatic Society but that’s as far a I am tempted. I was on it once before and it’s too easy for me waste time on it. Removing temptation is easier than resisting it. 🙂
I quite understand. I resisted FB for many years but FB Messenger is the only means I have to keep in touch with members of my family and a couple of friends who aren’t on WhatsApp and don’t use e-mail. I belong to a few groups like Suffolk Wildlife and a local history group and try not to waste too much time. Haha!
I signed up when one of the kids toured Canada with their Rugby team, but I ended up being swamped by notifications from the Mums and friend requests from people I’d never heard of. I suppose I should be more sociable . . .
No. Not that sociable! 😀
🙂 I’ve just been discussing with Julia whether we go out fora day trip tomorrow, or leave the car parked outside the house all day so the lad who parks there as he goes off to work (inconveniencing me when I return home) won’t be able to park. I’m turning into Victor Meldrew! 🙂
You can’t be serious!
We have a weather guy named “Nor’easter Nick.” He’s VERY local. He’s not on TV but puts out high quality forecasts on facebook. He’s so local that he understands our weather and gets it right most of the time. Plus, he doesn’t have the pressure from the higher ups to magnify everything for ratings.
That sounds like quite a good service. Maybe it’s the way forward. I suppose, as some of your states and lakes are bigger than our country, that our forecasting problems are different.
I share your weather forecasting pain but I have two droplets of sympathy for the forecasters. One is that climate change must be playing hell with their computer models as forecasts are always based on what has happened before; and the other is that they produce forecasts which allegedly cover your house but obviously in fact must cover quite a substantial area. When it is not raining on a rainy forecast day, I can often look at the current weather map and see that it is indeed raining ten miles away. I regard that as quite good forecasting but they just shouldn’t say that the the forecast is for Langholm when it is for Langholm and district.
I’m sure it’s a tricky job, and that they do a difficult job to the best of their abilities. My question is really why we need them to deliver this moderately accurate service when they could be doing something better suited to their talents and qualifications, like grilling burgers or washing cars.
Poor Julia getting soaked as she came home!
She was very wet and very cold, and not very polite when I suggested she should warm up by making me a nice cup of tea. Being wet seems to erode her good humour . . .
But we have come a long way since Michael Fish
That is true – he must feel quite unfortunate about that. The stats were on his side and his timing was catastrophic, and he took the fall for the whole Met Office.
That day I had to drive down to Romney Marsh and rescue valuable breeding stock from a collapsed poultry house. If only we’d had cameras and digital cameras . . .
The very best way of forecasting rain is to bask in the wonder of a bright sun shining day and hang a load of washing and the line. Then it will rain.
Yes, this will do it. I didn’t know it worked in both hemispheres. 🙂
Are we not all of the one world upon which the rain cometh.
Some more than others . . .