Weathermen square up after cold winter forecast
Met Office rival predicts another snowy winter, but can they be trusted?
Britain is set for another 'white-out' winter this year, according to the weather forecast agency Positive Weather Solutions. But a Met Office forecaster has questioned his rival's forecast.
"This winter will be similar to last winter, although not quite as harsh. We could well see temperatures as cold as last winter, albeit on a less-sustained level," says Jonathan Powell of PWS.
"With a combination of snow, ice and bitterly-cold temperatures, we could well see another 'white-out' scenario as some areas of the country grind to a halt.
"School closures are very likely, as is disruption on the roads. Local authorities need to be warned that they will have to handle another very cold winter."
PWS claims to have correctly predicted last year's winter chaos, but their more recent history offers something of a reality check. In mid-July, they predicted that August would be dry and warm. Of course, nothing of the sort happened and it actually turned out to be the coolest August since 1993.
The Met Office has chosen to give up making long-term predictions, not least because it is routinely hounded by tabloid newspapers that struggle to grasp the concept of statistical probability as opposed to iron-clad certainty.
Many papers also demonstrated an inability to understand the difference between climate and weather last winter by using the big freeze to question climate change.
As a result, the Met Office now limits its predictions to a more manageable 30 days. Michael Lawrence, a Met Office forecaster, questioned the veracity of the PWS claims, saying: "What these forecasters do is pit themselves in opposition to what we say and if they get it right they get a lot of publicity."
Powell today hit back, telling The First Post that PWS has never sought publicity. He said Lawrence's statement was "probably sour grapes, from a company whose credibility has been ruined by a series of poor long range forecasts".
He added: "We find it a great disservice to the public that a government-funded body should not even attempt to make long range forecasts.
"I put it to the Met Office that they are running scared of a smaller outfit who can 'out-forecast' them, and beat them at their own game." ·
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