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Met Office Caught Cheating Over Wind Speed “Records”

September 2, 2020

By Paul Homewood




You will recall my astonishment regarding Met Office claims that Storm Francis brought the highest ever gusts for August to parts of Britain this week. The claim was, of course, widely reported in the media, such as this grossly false claim by ITV:




As several readers pointed out, what about the infamous Fastnet storm in 1979, or Hurricane Charley in 1986?

So I asked the Met Office how far back their records went for Aberdaron, Vyrnwy and Pembrey Sands. Given their reputation for deceiving the public, I can’t say I was surprised by their answer!




In other words, none of these three stations had data for those earlier storms, and claims of “record” anything are utterly meaningless therefore.

So I also asked for Shobden and Pershore, and got more or less the same answer:




Pershore, by the way, only has gust data for 1973-77 prior to 1991, according to the Met Office’s MIDAS system.

So the best the Met Office could claim was that Francis was the strongest storm in parts of Wales since the 1980s.


Let’s not beat about the bush. Claims of “record winds”, deliberately broadcast by the Met Office, are utterly dishonest and irresponsible. If a company made such claims in its advertising, it would hauled before the ASA.

Whether they knew the claims were fake is largely irrelevant. To release the news without proper checks shows that the Met Office are more interested in propaganda than the truth.


What about Fastnet and Charley then?





The Fastnet storm brought gusts of 75 mph to Milford Haven, and 59 mph and 56 mph to Elmdon and Watnall.

Bearing in mind that Aberdaron and Vyrnwy are cliff top and mountain sites respectively, they cannot be compared. (Indeed, it is noticeable when looking through the archives that sites like these never seem to be mentioned).

Milford Haven is broadly comparable to Pembrey, which recorded a much lower gust of 68 mph during Francis. Similarly Elmdon and Watnall suffered much stronger winds than Shobdon and Pershore.

The Met Office monthly report also gives the highest wind gusts for the month (marked with red cross and in knots):






We can see that wind gusts of well over 40 kts were present across virtually the whole of England and Wales. The max gust at Pershore this week was 42 kts, yet nearby sites at Shawbury and Birmingham were hit with winds of 51 kts back in 1979. It seems extremely unlikely that Pershore escaped with much less then.

What we do know, in any event, is that gusts of 42 kts are not uncommon inland in August.

Clearly there can be no comparison between Fastnet and Francis, with the former being a much more powerful and widespread storm.


Which brings us to Charley, which ruined Bank Holiday Monday in 1986!





Not that Charley was not the only storm to hit that month. As for Charley itself, a gust of 65 kts was recorded at Brixham, compared to 59 kts at Pembrey this month. Both are coastal sites.

Again, the detailed monthly report from the Met Office shows that gusts of 40 kts and more were widespread across Wales and the South West, suggesting there was nothing unprecedented about Francis:



  1. LeedsChris permalink
    September 2, 2020 6:27 pm

    And there have been other stormy Augusts, not just in the case of the Fastnet storm and ex-hurricane Charley. In August 1957 there were gales recorded somewhere in Scotland on 8 days of the month and on 12 days in England and Wales. Peak gusts were 75mph at Three on 14th, 75mph at Stornoway on 24th and 77mph at Bidston, near Liverpool, on the 25th

  2. September 2, 2020 6:31 pm


    • Harry Passfield permalink
      September 2, 2020 8:00 pm


  3. johnbillscott permalink
    September 2, 2020 7:12 pm

    I remember this storm and the winds were pretty intense

    What made the storm of 1953 so different from others was the fact that it had a number of elements combined together to make it so deadly and devastating. Annual spring tides with a deep pressure system (which in itself can cause the sea to rise) and severe gale force winds. The wind was recorded 126mph (203kph) at Costa Hill in Scotland. All of these elements funneled those high tides southward toward the narrow (and shallow) English Channel, causing the swell to rise even further. The storm surge was recorded at 5.6 metres (18.4ft) at its peak.

  4. tonyb permalink
    September 2, 2020 7:24 pm

    I was camping in Devon during the Fastnet storm. I was camping in Wales during Charley. I now live in Devon. Both those storms were far far worse than anything we had this August.

    I don’t camp any more because of storms

    • Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
      September 2, 2020 8:37 pm

      The Wall Street Journal had an article about folks going camping because of Panic2020, with restaurants, bars, and such closed. Focus was on those that had no, or very limited, experience. Rain and poor tenting abilities caused problems. One lady took 18 changes of clothes for a 3 day hiking trip.
      There will be sales of lightly used camping gear for sale.

    • September 2, 2020 9:45 pm

      You won’t believe this (!) but I went backpacking near Trawsfynedd in 1984.

      I was set outside my tent in the sunshine late afternoon, when I thought I heard thunder and lots of rumbling.

      When I got back home, I discovered I had just been at the epicentre of an earthquake!!

      • ianprsy permalink
        September 2, 2020 9:50 pm

        And the local nuclear power plant went into meltdown (not).

      • September 2, 2020 10:42 pm

        Did you use a smaller tent peg hammer after that?

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        September 3, 2020 1:33 am

        The Lleyn peninsula is a frequent site for earthquakes in the UK. There were three there in 1984 that were quite big – ML 4.0 to ML 5.3

        None of them were in the afternoon though. 6:56, 11:37 and 20:17

      • September 4, 2020 10:04 am

        I went to bed on Christmas Day 1979 in Newcastle upon Tyne and was woken up by the banging of a gateleg table at about 04:00 on Boxing Day. Turned out to an earth tremor.

  5. tonyb permalink
    September 2, 2020 7:32 pm

    We live on the coast. It was undoubtedly windy during Francis but it didn’t stop us going out,. In fact my diary shows we had a coffee in a seaside café on a cliff nearby. You know its a storm when you huddle inside the house and wait for it to pass.

  6. Devoncamel permalink
    September 2, 2020 7:41 pm

    When the phrase ‘on record’ is quoted always ask yourself what record?

  7. Old Grumpy permalink
    September 2, 2020 8:11 pm

    Are you sure that the conversion from kt to mph in Milford Haven during the Fastnet storm is correct?
    Or is it case of “Even Homer nods?

  8. Phillip Bratby permalink
    September 2, 2020 8:11 pm

    Excellent stuff Paul. Keep up the good work, because the Met Office doesn’t.

  9. ianprsy permalink
    September 2, 2020 9:47 pm

    I heard Tony Abbott described on Sky TV News yesterday as a Climate Denier (mind you, he does have strong views on other issues). What a contrast to their Australian counterpart, who helped Australians watch Malcolm Roberts tear into their government. How refreshing. For those who haven’t seen it:

    • A Man of No Rank permalink
      September 3, 2020 11:33 am

      Fascinating stuff Ian, why is our BBC not like this?
      Despite all Malcolm Robert’s comments you had the impression that the Aussie Government will never change and adopt a more honest approach. A bit like our Met Office then!

  10. C Lynch permalink
    September 2, 2020 10:11 pm

    Good man Paul. As I commented a few days ago I remember storms being frequent in August during my holidays as a child on the West Coast of Ireland.
    You should send your findings to the BBC and the rest of the media and see what response you get.
    I predict crickets.

  11. Howard Dewhirst permalink
    September 2, 2020 10:11 pm

    Time and again Met Offices around the western world are caught ‘fiddling the books’ yet they keep doing it and nothing changes – why is that? What can the honest people do? Apparently nothing…

  12. MrGrimNasty permalink
    September 2, 2020 10:14 pm

    According to ITV:-

    The strongest storm Francis gust was 81mph, just over 70knts, at The Needles (87mph there Aug 1996 is the UK record).

    Wales matched the record of 75mph at Lake Vyrnwy in Powys (Milford Haven Aug 1979).

    Whatever, it was unusually windy weather, but not climate change pushing the envelope to new realms. The Met Office never misses an opportunity to push their climate change obsession/agenda by concealing pertinent information like the length of data records, and they exaggerate and suggest the weather is abnormal, not a surprise any more is it!

  13. Ian Miller permalink
    September 2, 2020 10:26 pm

    So whose heads are to roll ????
    None ! WHY NOT ???

  14. Mack permalink
    September 2, 2020 10:38 pm

    As I’ve mentioned before, the ‘non record’ making storms of August/September 1588 seem to have sunk almost half of the Spanish Armada when they tried to invade the U.K. and then flee when things didn’t go to plan. That’s climate change for ya when no fossil fuels were required to make the difference between success and failure around our treacherous coasts with wicked late summer storms in play. Zzzzzz. We may not have records of ancient wind speeds but our island history is littered with accounts of similar violent unseasonal storms that have caused havoc, long before mankind’s emissions could even have been a factor. Which, considering the entirety of natural emissions of dastardly greenhouse gasses in comparison to anthropogenic sources they, simply, aren’t.

  15. John189 permalink
    September 3, 2020 12:11 am

    How refreshing to read the calm and strictly factual Met Office reports quoted above. Not one weasel word. But alas the media feed on alarm and excess – and there is always some duffer on hand to say that such wind/rain/heatwaves have never happened before in his/her lifetime.

    • C Lynch permalink
      September 3, 2020 9:23 am

      Spot on John. There were flash floods in Clifden in Ireland yesterday . RTE’s (our equivalent of the BBC – in more ways than one) main evening news did a typically breathless cover story on it. It included an interview with a resident who said he’d never seen floods like it and he’s living there 10 years!
      Beyond parody.

  16. September 3, 2020 1:10 am

    Yet another matter being that records of this nature have no AGW interpretation one way or the other.

  17. tom0mason permalink
    September 3, 2020 1:15 am

    Why does the UK ‘need’ the Met Office?
    Could not the government sell off this agency (at the least the ‘climate change’ part of it), and contract back the information it really needs. That would save the taxpayers a lot of money — no more £billions for yet more powerful computers?
    A taste of the free market might well spur them to change for the better as they would then be in competition with other national and international weather agencies. Maybe they could make some headway in improving weather forecasting reliability beyond the current 3-5 days, while reducing all the useless nonsense about man-made climate change.
    Privatise the Met Office and reduce the climate hype!

  18. I_am_not_a_robot permalink
    September 3, 2020 2:30 am

    “Highest ever ….”.
    To the babies who write the ‘news’ nowadays 1986 is more or less ‘ever’.

  19. calnorth permalink
    September 3, 2020 9:02 am

    Pershore….I live on the opposite side of the M5, some 10 miles N.W. It was gusty and demonstrated by a bit of whistling around buildings. Nothing much unusual except the clouds…the pre-history look that we sometimes get. Dark artistic stuff…beautiful really.

  20. MrGrimNasty permalink
    September 3, 2020 9:29 am

    (Only 2 days before August) 1956: 29th July VIOLENT GALE affected much of southern England, south Wales and the English Channel region as a DEPRESSION deepened below 980 mbar as it progressed up the SW Approaches to be over the East Midlands by midday 29th. The strongest GUST measured was 76 kn at Culdrose (Cornwall), which at the time was the greatest wind speed measured in July over the British Isles since before 1920. There was considerable DAMAGE to trees etc., along the south coast with many trees blocking roads. 

    (As mentioned above) Aug 1957: GALES were widespread, and according to Lamb, “unusually prolonged & strong for the time of year” around the British Isles and across the southern North Sea between the 23rd and the 25th. They caused widespread DAMAGE, with BftF9 especially prevalent on the 25th. [HS/23]

    In the same place I also came across this fact again that we often forget:

    1911: MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE on 9th August at Raunds (Northamptonshire) and Canterbury (Kent) 36.7degC (98degF/converted?). (Until August 1990, the highest known / accepted in UK).

    All that global warming and it took so many years (and a lot of UHI and spikey electronics) to beat it by a couple of degrees!

    I don’t think there is much in the link below we haven’t heard before but deaths from an avalanche in Lewes is still ‘out there’.

  21. dennisambler permalink
    September 3, 2020 2:10 pm

    “the Met Office are more interested in propaganda than the truth”

    It’s part of their brief under the control of BEIS:

    “The ultimate responsibility and accountability for the work of the Met Office is with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.”

    Currently Alok Sharma, who is in charge of the next COP, if it happens.

    “Day-to-day ministerial oversight and the formal business ownership role are delegated to the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation”

    20 Feb 2020 | News Science Business . net
    UK government finally confirms new science minister

    “Amanda Solloway MP is promoted from the backbenches, but post is downgraded to lower rank, with responsibility for universities split off to a different portfolio

    The Role of the Met Office, the job description:

    Click to access met-office-framework-document-2019.pdf

    “It is responsible for delivering the Public Weather Service (PWS) and National Severe Weather Warning Service (NSWWS).

    It also represents a critical national capability in climate research, with a central role in meeting the Government’s requirements for climate evidence and advice.

    In addition, the Met Office works in partnership with academia and other UK and international centres of excellence, helping to pull through and exploit world-leading environmental science to deliver economic and social value.”

    They have to maintain the narrative, lying by omission is part of it. When they say “ever recorded” they don’t add, “in this particularly short data set.”

    This Tyndall paper set out the agenda years ago:

    Working Paper 58 September 2004. Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
    “The Social Simulation of the Public Perception of Weather Events and their Effect upon the Development of Belief in Anthropogenic Climate Change” Dennis Bray and Simon Shackley.

    “We suggest that, in the realm of the public, forces act to maintain or denounce a perceived reality which has already been constructed. That is, an issue introduced by science (or media for that matter) needs continual expression of confirmation if it is to be maintained as an issue.

    In this paper, we explore under what conditions belief in global warming or climate change, as identified and defined by experience, science and the media, can be maintained in the public’s perception.

    As the science itself is contested, needless to say, so are the potential policy changes. So how then do people make sense or construct a reality of something that they can never experience in its totality (climate) and a reality that has not yet manifest (i.e. climate change)?

    To endorse policy change people must ‘believe’ that global warming will become a reality some time in the future.

    Only the experience of positive temperature anomalies will be registered as indication of change if the issue is framed as global warming.

    Both positive and negative temperature anomalies will be registered in experience as indication of change if the issue is framed as climate change.

    We propose that in those countries where climate change has become the predominant popular term for the phenomenon, unseasonably cold temperatures, for example, are also interpreted to reflect climate change/global warming.”

    The propaganda is on-going and relentless…

    • tom0mason permalink
      September 4, 2020 3:37 pm

      Thank-you dennisambler,
      Your synopsis of the Met Office’s role within government makes it even clearer why this agency should be sold-off to the highest bidder. Contracts to supply Public Weather Service (PWS) and National Severe Weather Warning Service (NSWWS) could then be negotiated after (from a competitive bid process), while the complete fuddle-fiddle thinking mess about ‘climate change’ from the Met Office could be safely ignored by government ministers.
      The reduction in public civil service staff and public money going to this agency would be a welcome win-win for the taxpayer.

      A condition selling-off this agency should be establishment of a suitably spacious ‘H.H. Lamb Memorial Museum’ wing, where all H.H. Lambs publications, notes, tools, equipment, and memorabilia are properly displayed, housed and managed, and are available to the public.
      This would be in stark contrast to the room of boxes where it all resides currently — shamefully hidden away (restricted view by appointment only) like some unwanted piece of history.

  22. Coeur de Lion permalink
    September 3, 2020 2:39 pm

    Just to dwell a moment on the ‘named storms’ caper. Previously one had depressions or as we yotties used to say ‘another dartboard coming up Channel – stay in’. Naming allows the Met Ofice to suck on the tail of the style of American hurricane names and thereby deliver a modicum of fear. Quotes such as “as we saw with Storm Clara and Storm Dennis there were etc etc…’ emphasise the word STORM when so-called Clara was a bit of a blow, soon over. Why? Falling credibility I guess. Money? BBC cover?

  23. It doesn't add up... permalink
    September 3, 2020 6:09 pm

    He who controls the past…

  24. September 3, 2020 10:11 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:

    research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

    Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

    The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present

    and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite…

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 17, 1961

    We are a society with profound amnesia of the past, sadly led by our institutions who seem intent on erasure rather than understanding because it does not suit their ideological purposes – pushing the climate change meme because it fits so well with the global authorian agenda.

    We can only hope the tide soon turns from this fanaticism and back to the truth of scientific wonder and discovery that we had before the clamour of global cooling and warming, fueled by the scent of money and power, led to the corruption of the field which is what has led to the nonsense of claiming August wind “records” based on a paucity of actual data.

    The Met Office does have some good people who now really need to speak up and bring balance because when the dam breaks against them they need to make sure the zealots do not take everything with them. Zealots who are currently running amok, redefining what is real and observed whilst purging institutions of non-believers. They have no desire to understand the climate or weather, it is only a means to an end. Their fanaticism will always supercede the science and we ignore the warnings of the past at our peril.

    The Lysenko story serves as a powerful warning against the collusion of ideology and science, a threat that is very much with us today.

    Mark Pilkington / The Guardian
    Thu 11 Sep 2003

    You only have to read what happened to Cliff Mass to see the future that awaits if something does not change.

    Now I have probably written more papers and done more research on Northwest weather and climate than any other individual. I know the literature. I attend the seminars. I wrote on book on NW weather and climate. I have spent a lifetime learning about it. But a bunch of climate activists, such as groups like decided they knew better. They were particularly unhappy when I exposed some of the hype and exaggeration promulgated by the activist crowd (e.g., that climate change is a short-term existential threat to mankind). There were also some wealthy, activist KNKX donors that were unhappy with my blog. These climate activists demanded that I talk about “existential climate threats” on KNKX [Radio] and stop my climate fact checking on my blog. I was a threat to them: knowledgeable, credible, and with access to the media. And they wanted that to end.

    Cliff Mass
    My Firing at KNKX
    Thursday, August 13, 2020

    • StephenP permalink
      September 4, 2020 8:00 am

      The last sentence in the Guardian article on Lysencko sums up the whole sorry story on the climate change affair.
      A pity the Guardian doesn’t take any notice of it.

  25. September 4, 2020 7:16 am

    It’s been such a cold summer I suppose they have to find something to suggest that climate change is destroying the planet. Even if it’s only on a hill in remotest Wales.

    • September 5, 2020 9:17 am

      Hmm, it hasn’t been a cold Summer in the UK. Let’s not fall into the alarmist way of things.

  26. yonason permalink
    September 8, 2020 11:12 am

    The Met office isn’t alone in their attempts to hype the ordinary. Here’s a “reporter” who is obviously a novice at the propaganda trade.

    Um, For one thing, when the wind is strong you lean INTO it, not the other way. Oh, and make sure there aren’t any pedestrians walking around in the background who aren’t the least bit affected by either wind or rain.

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