Difficulties of forecasting the weather

27th October, 2014

So we have reached that time of year again when summer is now behind us, the clocks have gone back, the nights are drawing in and everyone is beginning to wonder what winter will have in store for us this year. As has become the norm, the newspapers are already predicting that there will be 'record-breaking' cold temperatures and 'significant' levels of snow. If our memories serve us correctly we were told almost exactly the same last year and the year before...

You only have to look back to an article in The Express just two weeks ago that stated "over the coming weeks and into November, it is likely to turn progressively colder, even very cold at times." Well, two weeks on, I am writing this blog whilst looking out at clear blue skies and temperatures that could reach a very pleasant 19 degrees Celsius today. Checking a little further ahead temperatures look to be staying in the mid to low teens, around average for this time of year.

As we mentioned, this is not the first time that it has been suggested that Britain will suffer the coldest winter in living memory. In September 2011, The Mirror ran a story that claimed December, January and February would bring with it 'below-average temperatures'. Whilst it is true the country did experience sub-zero temperatures during that period The Met Office released figures to suggest that it was nowhere near as cold as predicted:

  • The average temperature in December 2011 was 1 degree Celsius above average.
  • December 2011 was also 5 degrees Celsius warmer than December 2010, making it the mildest December since 2006.
  • January 2012 began with very mild conditions, resulting in it being the mildest January since 2008.

By February of that year Britain was basking in its warmest winter for four years, with temperatures rising to a practically tropical 18 degrees Celsius in Coleshill, Warwickshire - well above the 7 degrees average for February.


But despite all of this, we are certainly not about to become complacent. As we all know, Mother Nature is an unpredictable woman and therefore it is important that we continue to monitor conditions across the country to guarantee that we are prepared for any eventuality. To ensure that we have the most accurate and up-to-date information at our fingertips we use postcode specific data, supplied to us by The Met Office and Weatherquest.

The Met Office is the UK's national weather service and they have been working closely with governments, individuals and organisations over 150 years. Their reputation for scientific excellence is built upon a combination of world class research, the latest technologies and local understanding. Using more than 10 million weather observations every day, an advanced atmospheric model and a high performance supercomputer, they are able to generate 3,000 tailored forecasts and briefings every day of the year.

Weatherquest is a private weather forecasting and weather analysis provider. Formed in the year 2000 they are based at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, but also have personnel working at a number of locations both in the UK and abroad. Being based at the UEA allows their team to draw upon climate research expertise and provide detailed forecasts for a number of different sectors, including:

  • Agriculture
  • Insurance
  • Broadcast and print media
  • Wind energy
  • Ports
  • Sports
  • Winter gritting

You can therefore be confident that whatever the winter throws at us this year, we have the information necessary to ensure that your business is protected from the threat of snow and ice around the clock.

If you would like to speak to us about putting a gritting and snow clearance plan in place for your business this winter, do not hesitate to get in touch.

Snow covered tree

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