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Met Office Did Not See Floods Coming

January 7, 2014

By Paul Homewood


While we’re on the topic of December’s flooding over here in the UK, we might care to check out what the Met Office were forecasting, at the end of November, in their 3-month outlook.




OK, they’ve got till the end of February, and maybe it will stop raining for the next six weeks. But, I would not hold my breath.

I accept it is asking a lot for the Met Office, or any other meteorological organisation, to accurately forecast a month or more in advance. But their 3-month outlooks are specifically designed as “contingency planners”.

The floods last month are a prime example of where such contingency planning is needed. Is there any point at all in the Met Office spending money on this exercise, if they cannot even identify a risk that such flooding was a possibility?

As their forecast is based around observations, numerical models and expert judgement, perhaps they might like to tell us which of these is flawed?

  1. January 7, 2014 7:43 pm

    I don’t think the flood warnings from the Environment Agency were particularly good either.

    They might have been produced, but not well publicized,

  2. January 7, 2014 8:01 pm

    The probability of anything falling in one of five categories is 20% in the absence of any other knowledge. Basically they’re saying we know of no precipitation trends in the UK 1981-2010.

  3. January 7, 2014 11:17 pm

    Thanks Paul. Good reality check. I’m not surprised the Met Office got is so wrong.
    You wrote:
    “OK, they’ve got till the end of February, and maybe it will stop raining for the next six weeks. But, I would not hold my breath.”
    Please don’t, and don’t sell your coat either.

  4. Brian H permalink
    January 8, 2014 5:02 am

    Between obs, mods, and WAGs, I’d put the shares of wrongness at 25, 30, and 45%.

  5. Andy DC permalink
    January 8, 2014 5:55 pm

    NOAA forecast much above normal temperatures for Minnesota during November thru January, but up until now it has much below normal. These long range forecasts are at best a stab on the dark. A truly scientific organization would be ashamed to put out such garbage.

  6. January 8, 2014 10:34 pm

    If you want mid-longer term ‘contingency’ forecasts, look no further than WeatherAction. Piers’ forecasts are much more accurate, but are not the short (up to 5-day) forecasts the MO also produce.


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