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Are weather forecasts a work of fiction?

(13 Posts)
M0nica Mon 25-Jul-22 10:31:10

Once upon a time, weather forecasts were a reasonable guide to what the weather in the next 24 hours was going to be, but now they are becoming the fairy story that 'Once upon a time' suggests.

On Friday we were going to an outdoor theatrical event (if rain in the church). First thing in the morning the weather forecast promised apocalyptic weather: thunder, lightening and several hail storms, I kid you not, although 15 miles away our forecast was nice quiet dry cloudy weather. During the day this kept changing, but did agree that there was going to be heavy rain. We prepared our picnic to be eaten in pews in the church.

The performance went ahead as planned. Not a drop of rain fell all evening.

This morning I decided to do some gardening. I checked the weather forecast. It was going to to be cloudy all morning, but probability of rain was under 5%. After 20 minutes I had to come in because it was raining too heavily to stay out and it has now been raining, heavy drizzle, for about an hour. The weather forecast is still saying the chances of rain are below 5%.

Now, I know the UK rain is variable and changes quickly, but I do think they should be reasonable accurate for weather that is already near us or imminent, otherwise, why bother with weather forecasts?

NotSpaghetti Mon 25-Jul-22 10:34:19

I find the Met Office app pretty good to be honest but used to live in a tiny village where the weather was in a sort of "pocket" because of the lie of the land and you never knew what to expect!

In fact, one winter about 1/3 of the village was iced over for days longer than the rest.

JackyB Mon 25-Jul-22 10:42:22

It's much the same here in Central Europe. The TV last night predicted rain and thunderstorms here all day today. Not one of the 3 weather apps on our phones mentioned it at all, although I wouldn't be surprised if the heat didn't erupt into a storm at some point.

The day has now settled down to hot but calm and I have no headache as harbinger of thunder.

HurdyGurdy Mon 25-Jul-22 11:01:48

I've heard that when you see a weather report saying 20% chance of rain, what it actually means is that 20% of that area will have rain.

I always took it to be a small likelihood of rain over the whole area.

We have an amateur weather forecast page on Facebook, which is usually pretty accurate, so for local forecasts, I rely on them, rather than the TV stations or the Met Office.

If I got it wrong at work as often as the TV weather forecasters do, I'd be out on my ear!

LauraNorderr Mon 25-Jul-22 11:07:46

I agree Monica, it seems the more advanced the equipment the less accurate the forecast. We rely on our local farmers who seem to know all he signs. We can see Holyhead Mountain in the distance, we now know that when there is a ring of cloud hugging the top we can expect unsettled and mostly damp weather for a week and when there is a hazy ring around the bottom we can expect a long spell of dry and settled weather.

M0nica Mon 25-Jul-22 11:39:42

Unfortunately, the land round us is as flat as a pancake and any distance views are cut by trees, so I cannot use the 'mountain' test.

MiniMoon Mon 25-Jul-22 11:46:36

I refer to my Amazon echo for the weather forecast. It is almost always correct even to the time rain will begin to fall.
My DD looks at the weather for Norway which, according to her, is pretty accurate for our area of northern England.

Callistemon21 Mon 25-Jul-22 12:01:07

We have our own weather where we live!

VioletSky Mon 25-Jul-22 12:06:50

Yesterday was clear sunny skies here but my friend 15 miles away had torrential rain...

I think summer weather is just bonkers and runs around like an angry toddler breaking things for no reason

LauraNorderr Mon 25-Jul-22 12:11:05

Iā€™m sure your local farmers will have some tips Monica, my mountain tale was just one example. They seem to have lots of clues, the way a certain plant faces or opens in the morning, behaviour of the animals or even a feeling in their bones.

Wheniwasyourage Mon 25-Jul-22 12:40:22

Think you're right about summer weather, VioletSky, even before climate change became so obvious. Of course it's even worse now...

It's a great comparison with an angry toddler. Thank you for that mental picture!

M0nica Mon 25-Jul-22 13:42:53

Violetsky perfect!

AGAA4 Mon 25-Jul-22 13:50:41

I think my cone predicts the weather better than the BBC ?