Wet wet wet this winter?

Every year there’s a huge amount of media speculation about what weather we’ll see during winter, and this year is no different.

After a recent slew of stories claiming we’re in for the coldest winter on record (which weren’t based on information from the Met Office), there are now stories claiming we’re forecasting the wettest winter in 30 years.

That’s not the case and appears to be a misunderstanding of our three-month outlook for contingency planners.

First of all, last winter was the wettest in our digital records dating back to 1910, so if we were to have a wetter winter than that it would be the wettest in over a century – not just for 30 years.

But that’s not what our contingency planners outlook says. As we’ve pointed out here many times in the past, this product isn’t like our short range forecasts – it doesn’t tell you definitively what the weather is going to be and that’s why it’s not really that useful for the public.

What it does do is make an assessment of the likelihood of seeing wetter or drier than average, and milder or colder than average conditions for the whole of the UK for the whole three month period.

Recent outlooks have been signalling increased risk of milder and wetter conditions for the past couple of months, and indeed that’s what we have seen through October and the start of November. So the most likely predicted outcome is what actually happened for these months – but that won’t always be the case.

While the recent three month outlooks also highlighted the risk of more unsettled than average conditions, this does not give specific details or tell us whether any records will be broken.

For detailed weather forecasts, our five-day forecasts and weather outlooks to 30-days give the best and most up-to-date advice.

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7 Responses to Wet wet wet this winter?

  1. skience says:

    So, let me see if I understand. There may be wet, there may be dry there may be snow, there may be frost, there may be warm, there may be high winds and maybe none.

    So what aren’t the Met prediction?

    Sand storms!

  2. xmetman says:

    I realise that your long-range forecasts are not going to be specific like your short term forecasts are. Personally I can’t see much value in this product, but you obviously produce it, along with some form of consultancy to customers who do find it of value.

    I just wonder if some of your customers for the long-range forecast are Next and Marks & Spencer? If they are, why they didn’t see this super mild Autumn coming?

  3. xmetman says:

    Its really come to a sorry state of affairs when you start editing out links to my blog – which unlike yours is totally non-commercial – and is only trying to illustrate the fact (with graphs and tables) that Novembers are now +1.5°C warmer than they were in the 18th century.

    • If you look at our social media guidelines (here: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/legal/social-media-policy) you can see that we reserve the right to edit or not publish comments which could be insulting to other organisations. In this case, according to our judgement, your blog didn’t meet those requirements. We do appreciate your comments but do ask everyone to bear in mind the social media guidelines when posting. Thanks, Press Office team.

      • xmetman says:

        Let me get this straight – I can be as critical and acerbic as I like about any subject the Met Office blogs about and you have to publish it – I include a relevant link to a non-commercial personal blog and you block it?

        I’ve just looked up the expression “I’m going to take my ball and go home” on the urbandictionary.com to check if that’s how you are behaving and it says “when directed at an individual is used to illustrate the individual’s immaturity when that person can’t get his way and no longer wants to be a participant in the conversation or a contributor to solving a problem” and that about sums it up as far as I can see.

        I suppose that I should be grateful, because until recently, very few of my comments where making it through at all. This post may will make it because it has no link to my blog and hopefully doesn’t contravene any other policy guidelines either.

      • You may be misunderstanding our policy. It is absolutley fine to criticise the Met Office (within the usual rules of not using swearwords, being excessively insulting, or saying anything defamatory, etc), but for obvious legal reasons we have to be careful about providing links to content that criticises other organisations. This is intended as a blog about weather and climate issues, and it’s reasonable to consider that criticising other organisations is off topic and not in the spirit of this blog. These policies are fairly standard across nearly all social media. I hope this clarifies the situation.

      • xmetman says:

        Thanks for clarifying that – I obviously got the wrong end of the stick.
        I’ll try and make links only critical of the Met Office in future!

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