Why are the forecasts so vague these days?

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There’s been a lot of weather over the past few weeks – and not much of it correctly forecast.

My morning starts early, with the shipping forecast at 6.25am. Lord, help those whose lives are in peril on the sea if these daily bulletins are no more accurate than the tips for landlubbers which follow.

For reasons best know to the BBC the forecast invariably starts by telling me what it’s going to be like in the Northern Isles, with details of expected temperatures in the Firth of Mc-Somewhere-Or-Other and a word of warning about showers over the all-but deserted Highlands.

Then we hear about Northern Ireland and Wales before The Midlands is mentioned in passing – annexed by either “The north of England” or “East Anglia” - before the presenter finishes his forecast with a flourish by predicting London’s likely sunshine quotient. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting we ignore the farther-flung reaches on the Kingdom when forecasting the weather, it’s just that it seems that Scotland and Wales are given rather too much prominence – bearing in mind the sparse population compared to those of us crowded along the spine of England. It always rains there anyway.

As often or not the forecast is so vague as to not give any clear indication of what to expect. “Mainly dry, but with scattered showers, heavy at times” does not really constitute a forecast at all, in my book.

I generally draw my own conclusions on whether I need an umbrella or not by gazing out of the bedroom window at first light.

At the end of the day, before retiring for the night I tune in to the television news, which is followed by local and national forecasts, which as often as not contradict each other.

The irritatingly cheerful presenters begin by telling us what the weather has been like in the previous 12 hours (not so much a forecast as a post-cast).

They then take us on a dizzying flight around the same outreaches of the British Isles accompanied by those oh-so-patronising graphics which show us what rain looks like when its falling.

“Barbecue Summer” indeed! Counterpoint by Scott Freeman