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BBC and Met Office at war over ‘deep freeze’ winter weather forecasts

November 23, 2021

By Paul Homewood


Get the popcorn out!



A rare clash has emerged between the two ‘big boys’ of UK weather forecasting after they made hugely different long-term predictions for the winter ahead.

Britain’s two biggest forecasters have predicted polar opposites for this winter.

The Government-run Met Office has forecast a mild few months ahead but the BBC, which gets its information from DTN, warned of a deep freeze.

Experts say energy and road transport firms, airlines and supermarkets will all be hit by the uncertainty.

John Hammond, a former weatherman at both the BBC and Met Office, said: “It’s meteorological mayhem with huge disagreement on what happens in the months ahead. They are starkly different forecasts and can’t both be right.

“There are huge implications for customers such as Government, the energy sector, media and a wide range of other industries.

“Back-pedalling will be required by one of the big boys. Who will blink first?”

The Met Office says: “A mild three-month period is more likely than a cold one.

“Consistent with a warming climate, there is a reduction in the chance of cold.”

But the BBC’s forecaster DTN says: “This winter is likely to feature a weak ­polar ­vortex, bringing ­increased cold risks from Arctic air masses later in the season. January and February could feature frigid air, similar to last year.”


Watch this space!

  1. magesox permalink
    November 23, 2021 3:04 pm

    Can you believe you’ve just read this:
    The Met Office says: “A mild three-month period is more likely than a cold one.“Consistent with a warming climate, there is a reduction in the chance of cold.”
    How can you be a Met Office professional and confuse climate and weather in this way?

    • T Walker permalink
      November 23, 2021 3:48 pm

      Bloody embarrassing really.

    • Andrew Harding permalink
      November 23, 2021 4:21 pm

      If my memory serves me correctly, didn’t the BBC not renew their contract with the Met Office a few years ago, because they has factored in GW in their programming of the supercomputer that they use? This made their forecasts highly inaccurate!

      Stretching my memory back to breaking point, this was an article in the Sunday Telegraph, by the late, very much lamented, Christopher Booker?

    • dennisambler permalink
      November 23, 2021 5:30 pm

      The Met Office now has political masters.

      “The Met Office is a Trading Fund of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).”

      Wiki.. “the Met Office became part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on 18 July 2011, and subsequently part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy following the merger of BIS and the Department of Energy and Climate Change on 14 July 2016.”

      BEIS has the task of driving the Agenda, the DECC personnel will still be there.–net-zero-target-evidence-17-19/

      14 June 2019

      “Following the Prime Minister’s commitment to the UK cutting carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, and the publication of the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) report, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee examine the rationale for going faster to hit the net zero target, hearing from witnesses including Gail Bradbrook, Extinction Rebellion, Isabella O’Dowd, Climate and Energy Specialist, WWF, and Baroness Bryony Worthington, Environmental Defense Fund.

      The session tests whether the CCC’s net zero advice, and the draft net zero legislation laid by the Prime Minister, go far enough to fulfil the UK’s commitments under the Paris Agreement and to protect our environment for current and future generations. It also scrutinises the rationale for, and feasibility of, alternative targets proposed by environmental organisations.”

      It seems they listened to Gail, Isabella and Bryoni.

      • mjr permalink
        November 23, 2021 5:46 pm

        it has always had political masters, Prior to 2011 it was part of the MOD.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        November 23, 2021 6:50 pm

        They’re not disinterested advocates: they are professional agitators with ulterior motives. If the BEIS cannot see this they are complicit.
        Finally, if they want to call ‘witnesses’ they should try calling witnesses on both sides of the argument. What they do is not unlike pre-WWII when Churchill urged rearmament, having to put up with committees only calling pro-NZC witnesses who claimed to be calling fir peace. Eighty years on we still have to put up with pro-NZCs.

      • Adam Gallon permalink
        November 24, 2021 9:36 am

        Of course the BEIS is complicit. They’ve received their instructions about the climate scam & net zero & thus will be looking to fulfil them.

  2. Douglas Dragonfly permalink
    November 23, 2021 3:18 pm

    Disgraceful. Public funded bodies so at odds. Maybe they’re working for the gambling industry. To hell with local councils as they try and prepared for winter; like buying in rock salt for roads and paths.
    It does leave one wondering if this is deliberately planned chaos. If such a thing is possible.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      November 23, 2021 11:58 pm

      When I look at the UK Energy policy, fortunately from afar, I assume the chaos couldn’t have been planned as that would require more intellect and planning ability than is ever shown.
      O/T but I hear that Boris has now changed his name to Peppa Pig as that would boost his popularity.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      November 24, 2021 8:49 am

      Not really. This sort of forecasting has very poor accuracy. That’s just a fact. If you rely on forecasts with poor accuracy you will often make bad decisions. The real problem is that most people really struggle not to have forecasts.

  3. JimW permalink
    November 23, 2021 3:20 pm

    Bastardi forecast in line with the Beeb, that’s where my money is.
    However he does forecast milder weather in the 2nd half of the winter, perhaps its about timing.

  4. November 23, 2021 3:25 pm

    When it’s not being mild, it could be cold.

  5. Ian permalink
    November 23, 2021 3:27 pm

    Better ask Piers Corbin. He seems to be the best forecaster and isn’t beholden to the climate change cr@p.

  6. November 23, 2021 3:34 pm

    Is that true, or did you hear it on the Beeb ?

  7. T Walker permalink
    November 23, 2021 3:43 pm

    I have a coin to toss if that will help??

    I am sure we have mentioned before the Met Office forecast for Winter (Dec/Jan/Feb) 2010/11 which was predicted to be on the mild side. It was issued on the 23rd November. December 2010 was the coldest for 100 years.

    Is my memory getting dim? but I have a feeling that you covered it at the time Paul, but I can’t see it in the search (perhaps wrong search terms)

    This sort of careless stuff has consequences. It isn’t like the result of the Premiership. Councils plan gritting and snow ploughing assets on the basis of this advice and also manage their supplies of sand/salt. Imterestingly the Met Office isn’t the only outfit in the road ice prediction game.

    • T Walker permalink
      November 23, 2021 4:15 pm

      From the National Grid outlook for Winter 2010/11 published in October 2010

      Section A – Outlook for Winter 2010/11

      Met Office Weather Forecast
      25. The Met Office have now ceased publication of their long term winter weather
      forecast however their website1 continues to provide long term analyses. For the
      period of December through to February the data presented suggests:
      • a 60 – 80% probability of above normal temperatures
      • a 20 – 40% probability of near normal temperatures
      • a 0 – 20% probability of below normal temperatures
      26. In terms of UK precipitation their forecasts are weighted towards above average. For
      Europe average temps are typically 0.5-1.5°C above average. For North America
      average temps are up to 2° above average except for a cooler west coast.

      What happened –—the-coldest-in-100-years

      How does a decison maker use those %ages?

      Of the 20% below normal temps how much says coldest for a century???

      It highlights another thing – I never use the term “normal” only “average” Most who worship at this blog understand that normal is an average, but a lot of ordinary folk see normal as the opposite of adnormal.

      • dave permalink
        November 24, 2021 11:31 am


        And, one might ask, average in what respect? The same man can be average in height, well above average in wealth, just below average in strength, well below average in sociability, etc., etc.

  8. November 23, 2021 3:49 pm

    I haven’t yet seen a weather forecast of any accuracy much beyond three days. Those attempting to forecast beyond that are deceiving themselves and others. The only thing I can predict about the weather in the January and February coming is that it’s highly likely to be colder than it was in July and August.

    • T Walker permalink
      November 23, 2021 4:02 pm

      Maybe Roland, but we can tell you what the weather will be like in 2075.

      • Ian PRSY permalink
        November 23, 2021 6:48 pm

        Spot on. It’s so reassuring that the long term models are so accurate (97%)?

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        November 23, 2021 6:58 pm

        Yes. These fools who tell us what the ‘Climate’ will be in 30-odd years miss the point that in order to claim that they will need to be able to forecast – accurately – what the WEATHER will be like for 30 years!

  9. MrGrimNasty permalink
    November 23, 2021 3:51 pm

    Such forecasts are impossible anyway, just a few 100 miles difference in the positioning of a pressure system can make the difference between record mild and record cold – and neither organization can get the forecast right 2 or 3 days away a lot of the time.

    • David V permalink
      November 23, 2021 4:39 pm

      2 or 3 hours more like – I check the local forecasts before walking dogs – it changes hour by hour and there’s still little better than a 50:50 chance it’s right.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        November 23, 2021 5:44 pm

        I don’t rely on them for my walks, rain radar is the best tool, just play it back a few hours to see which way the weather is moving and how fast.
        Off course the odd local shower can still come out of nowhere in highly convective conditions and light local drizzle is sometimes not picked up.

  10. November 23, 2021 4:00 pm

    I confidently predict that for the UK, this winter will be either warmer or colder than the average winter.

  11. November 23, 2021 4:14 pm

    They can’t agree on the next 3 months, but confidently tell us the globe is boiling-up. Another case of the “science is settled.”

  12. richard permalink
    November 23, 2021 4:29 pm

    It’s already feeling darn cold.

  13. November 23, 2021 4:52 pm

    But my forecast for 2030 is catastrophic if you don’t stop driving your SUV. I am a scientist so am right.

  14. Bill Berry permalink
    November 23, 2021 4:58 pm

    When I lived in Crowthorne the Wet Office was in Bracknell. The forecast on the wireless was always for the weather that was happening right at the time in Crowthorne. I guess they can’t see as far as Crowthorne from their new window in Exeter.

    • T Walker permalink
      November 23, 2021 6:17 pm

      Well Bill – in Exeter they do have much bigger windows.

  15. Gamecock permalink
    November 23, 2021 5:13 pm

    This is more entertaining than their actual forecasts.

  16. November 23, 2021 5:15 pm

    Jeremy’s brother Piers Corbyn is an astrophhysicist/weatherman with a claimed success rate of approx 85%.
    Youtube: The Man That Predicts Weather Better Than ANYONE
    7.37 mins.
    John Doran.

  17. John189 permalink
    November 23, 2021 5:19 pm

    On 1 June 1976 (source: the Times) the Met Office forecast was for changeable weather to predominate that month. “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”. This was of course the month that began what is still the longest series of days recording above 32 Celsius, with drought in many areas leading to water rationing and stand pipes. The Met Office does indeed have form.

  18. mjr permalink
    November 23, 2021 6:36 pm

    when i was a kid Bill Foggitt used to be on tv giving his own forecasts based on nature. Damned sight more accurate than the BBC or the met office

    • T Walker permalink
      November 23, 2021 7:08 pm

      Yes mjr, but he was caught phoning the Leeds Weather Centre before he went on TV – I have no idea if they fed him duff stuff – or even if they knew which stuff was duff.

  19. Ben Vorlich permalink
    November 23, 2021 6:46 pm

    Not the right storm of storm!

    Turbine manufacturers battered by ‘perfect storm’ of post-Covid crosswinds
    ANALYSIS | Increases in raw material and shipping costs spell prolonged pain for Western OEMs, writes Bernd Radowitz

    “Turbine manufacturers battered by ‘perfect storm’ of post-Covid crosswinds | Recharge”

  20. avro607 permalink
    November 23, 2021 7:29 pm

    Just read in the Mail and Express that the has told the Env. expect a wetter than normal winter-I guess someone will get it right eventually.
    Caroline Douglas,the EA executive director of flooding(!),chirped up to brag about the millions spent to alleviate flooding,and to blame climate change for increasing the risk.
    Is someone teaching these people how to talk twaddle.End note:watching the performance by Boris today I actually felt embarrassed for him.
    God help us all.

    • ThinkingScientist permalink
      November 23, 2021 9:26 pm

      great nom du plume!

      • Julian Flood permalink
        November 24, 2021 8:11 am

        Finningley in the ’60s had a Victor groundschool as well as the whole Vulcan OCU. The Victor door had an official-looking notice:


      • Harry Passfield permalink
        November 24, 2021 10:57 am

        Great book! Incredible mission!

  21. TevetS permalink
    November 23, 2021 7:45 pm

    MK Weather have a good synopsis. Cold first half and warmer second. Along the lines of JB.

    • November 23, 2021 7:47 pm

      *SteveT !!! It types back to front!

  22. Huw T permalink
    November 23, 2021 7:49 pm

    it’s no shock that the Met Office says that it’s going to be milder. The climate robots that man the Met Office always say tis going to be milder. That is the sole reason they exist.

  23. tom0mason permalink
    November 23, 2021 9:23 pm

    To see how much MOST models are wavering about over the coming winter period look at GavsWeathervids discord channel videos (, or his youtube channel is at

    • Harry Davidson permalink
      November 24, 2021 12:01 am

      Agreed, Gav’s weather vids are the closest to a reliable forecast that I have seen, and he makes clear the limitations on what he is saying. A true weather wonk.

  24. November 23, 2021 11:07 pm

    Predictions are difficult, especially about the future. But the arctic is cooling, ice levels increasing, and the Antarctic has either stayed fairly constant or cooled slightly since 2014 or so. It seem to me the turning point of the nuclear warm period has arrived, and started after the 1998 El Nino, as predicted by Ludecke and Weiss using the natural cycles of the past. The 2017 aper has much more detail of the peer reviewed science.

    • Curious George permalink
      November 24, 2021 2:28 am

      The full beauty of global warming:
      EITHER it is right, OR the trillions spent fighting it actually work,
      meaning that it was right in the first place 🙂

  25. Gerry, England permalink
    November 24, 2021 9:36 am

    When the Met Office supplied the BBC with weather forecasts, late one evening the presenter admitted live on air that their weather models did not work with a meridional jetstream – only a zonal one ie the common westerlies across the Atlantic. However, since solar minimum started a decade or so ago, the jetstream pattern changed such that meridional flow is more common if not dominant. Years back HH Lamb pointed out this pattern change. What this means is that weather can be more extreme regarding temperature and can change very rapidly as the loops in the jetstream change the winds from south to north or vice versa. There can also be blocking highs in the loops that stall the jetstream.

    As in comments above, the matter of a 100 miles or so can see very different temperatures. In past winters we have been on a southerly airstream while from Norway down through Denmark into the continent they have been under arctic air and freezing. While this has not meant much to us before, with the UK’s inept energy policy relying on gas to prop it up, soaring gas demand will push our electricity and gas prices upwards as well. But then if we are in the arctic airstream as well, then only God can help us not the Peppa Pig idiot that makes car noises in a speech.

  26. November 24, 2021 11:02 am

    I forecast neither will be correct.

  27. Slingshot permalink
    November 24, 2021 5:49 pm

    Tucked away inside Monday’s DT Business section was a photograph of the Russian research ship, Mikhail Somov, as it awaited rescue after becoming ice-bound in the Vilkitsky Strait in the Arctic Ocean. The caption was careful to avoid any mention of the word ‘ice’. Did anyone else spot this little detail?

  28. Tim Spence permalink
    November 25, 2021 3:24 pm

    “January and February could feature frigid air, similar to last year.”

    No Sherlock

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