BBC TV Weather Forecasts

I hate all weather forecasts on radio and television. Instead of giving us the simple facts (or, rather, inaccurate predictions), the forecasters try to turn the forecast into a narrative and, since they are uniformly dull people, and although I am a patient man, they are unable to keep my attention for even a couple of minutes.

The BBC's television forecasts, however, bring a new level of tedium and inaccuracy to the proceedings. Instead of the old idea of a map of the UK adorned with magnetic cloud, rain and sun symbols, they present us with a detailed map over which they roam, hovering over parts of the country that one has never visited and (in the case of Salford) never wish to visit. While you want to see what is supposed to be happening in your part of the country or some place you intend to visit, the map is displaying the Humber Estuary or the Cairngorms.

There is another, more insidious, aspect to these weather maps. You will, perhaps, see that a shower is going to fall on Bath at 2 p.m. or a thunder storm will strike Leigh-on-Sea at 7. Thus the Met Office is creating a spurious impression of precision. If one were taking a maths exam (even, I assume, at the dismal GCSE level) and one were working to two decimal places and then presented the results to 4 decimal places, one would be penalised. This is a sort of fraud or imbecility, I'm not sure which.

Next time you hear a meteorologist pontificate about climate change (as they often do), ask yourself if he or she is even numerate.

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