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Where Did The Heatwave Go?

August 18, 2016

By Paul Homewood 




I know I sipped a bit of whisky last week, but I thought I had not imagined it!

There were several forecasts from the Met Office about how warm it would turn, come the middle of this week. This is what their blog had to say last week:


For the weekend, the high pressure means many places should enjoy some periods of sunshine and temperatures a few degrees above average. However, in the north there will still be some unsettled weather around, especially on Saturday.

After that and there is the potential for things to turn hot for the beginning of next week. Deputy Chief Operational Meteorologist Laura Paterson said: “An area of low pressure looks likely to drag air up from the south across the UK. Despite being a week ahead, temperatures of 30-32°C look more likely than not across some southern parts of the UK on Monday and Tuesday and there is a chance that even northern parts of the UK could see temperatures into the high 20s Celsius. Next week’s hotter weather does not look likely to last for long though with a thundery breakdown and eventual transition to cooler conditions expected by around the middle of the week.”


Oh good, thought I, shivering in the glens, at least we can have a barbie when I get home.


Even as recently as Sunday. the Telegraph was still forecasting:




But where oh where did the promised heatwave go?

Now to be fair, it has been pleasantly warm and sunny, and I did get my barbie, but nothing like the heatwave forecast. Just the sort of weather you would normally expect to see in August.

According to the Met Office, the highest temperatures recorded on Tuesday and Wednesday were 26.9C and 27.4C, both at Kinlochewe, deep in the Torridon mountains of the Scottish Highlands. A glance at the map suggests this may have been due to a Fohn effect.

Certainly many parts of the country never got anywhere near 27C, and the weather has already started going downhill.



ScreenHunter_4395 Aug. 17 10.34

ScreenHunter_4399 Aug. 18 10.39


Either way, the Met Office forecast of 32C was a long way from reality.

  1. Nordisch-geo-climber permalink
    August 18, 2016 10:16 am

    2016 – A summer in the English Lake District that has been typically cool. Similar to the past twenty years or so, but distinctly cooler than what we used to get in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Certainly no remarkable high temperatures of note. It is obvious to all weather watchers and outdoors people.

    • Adrian permalink
      August 18, 2016 4:52 pm

      Ditto Scotland

      However, I feel the real issue here is that Paul, and who am I teach him his job, has made a huge mistake and used actual un-adjusted data.

      Once NASA and CRU have finished with it they will be able to prove I have just experienced the hottest summer evah up here in the north.

  2. martinbrumby permalink
    August 18, 2016 10:23 am

    A long way from reality.
    A pity you can’t say the same thing about their bonuses.
    Never mind. Their prognostications about year 2100 will be spot on.

  3. Joe Public permalink
    August 18, 2016 10:35 am

    It’s strange that the Met Office lost its Beeb contract, not on lack of accuracy, but on price.

  4. August 18, 2016 10:44 am

    The Met Office might have more time on its hands to do something about those failing climate models it seems to believe in so much.

  5. Jackington permalink
    August 18, 2016 11:02 am

    The sooner Meteogroup take over at the BBC the better then the Met and their Supercomputer can take an essential back seat for a change

  6. AlecM permalink
    August 18, 2016 12:01 pm

    We’re having a heat wave?
    A topical heatwave?
    The mercury’s falling, isn’t it appalling,
    We certainly can’t model climate……….

  7. John189 permalink
    August 18, 2016 12:06 pm

    Needing a few days fine weather 13 to 16 August I checked the Met Office forecasts several times for two locations in West Yorkshire. The forecasts changed each time i checked. No complaints though – the weather was actually much sunnier than any of the the forecasts. Still, five day forecasts are not actually five day forecasts if details from day 1 onwards are constantly altered, and it does indeed appear that there is something wrong with models if accuracy is so poor.

  8. August 18, 2016 12:53 pm

    Just a few observations from watching your “Escape to the Country” show on my laptop. Some episodes are from 2015. I can tell the seasons from the vegetation. Many are done in the spring, some in the fall, others in the mid- to late-summer. When there is sun, there is a comment by the host that it is a “nice, sunny day” with the implication that it might be somewhat uncommon. Often it has been raining, going to rain or is raining and that is commented upon as “normal”. The other thing I notice is that for the most part, only the shows where you can see late summer flowers in bloom, are the host and the couple not wearing jackets or coats. That tells me that nippy and rainy are the norm and not a fluke.

    I would surmise that my climate conclusions from watching that show are at least as “scientific” as your Met Office.

  9. A C Osborn permalink
    August 18, 2016 2:31 pm

    We had the occassion on Saturday that the BBC/Met Office could not even get the weather correct on the same day, let alone 5 days ahead.
    They changed the forecast between 8:00am Saturday morning and 12:00pm and in neither case did they forecast the rain which we were actually getting.
    They can obviously see cloud with their satellites but they can’t tell if they are going to release rain or not.

  10. John189 permalink
    August 18, 2016 4:30 pm

    With an avid interest in weather and climate going back to the 1960s, my favourite UK Met Office clanger was their monthly forecast issued on 1 June 1976. “Changeable weather is expected to predominate in June. Temperatures and sunshine are expected to be below average in the south-east. Above average rainfall is likely in most places, but average amounts are expected in southern and central parts of England and Wales”. And what followed was a very hot summer and a drought that led to the use of standpipes in parts of Wales and Yorkshire.

  11. tonyfromct permalink
    August 18, 2016 6:56 pm

    “But where oh where did the promised heatwave go? ”

    It’s went to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean to keep the other missing heat company. Don’t you know ANYTHING! It’s practically boing down there.

  12. Dave N permalink
    August 18, 2016 8:41 pm

    It was a heatwave.. because earlier temperatures have been adjusted down

  13. tom0mason permalink
    August 18, 2016 8:56 pm

    So the Met Office has wasted yet more expensive time, and so much money on the super-computer with the result of reliably giving inaccurate forecasts even faster. But its OK, it’s just taxpayers money. (aka the chaotic weather gigo machine).

    Time to sell off this wasteful white elephant.

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