The 'Big Storm' - Over-hyped?

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The 'Big Storm' - Over-hyped?

Postby Steve Flitton » 2013 Oct 28, 21:09

Hi everyone
call me cynical but I can't help feeling the build up to today's storm was a bit over the top. Of course its good to see today's technology being able to predict the storm several days in advance but the constant reminder of it's approach and what might happen every forecast started to grate on my nerves. The BBC news channel started to run features on it, even Michael fish made a guest appearance. Questions were constantly being asked, "how bad will it be?", "is it going to be as bad as 1987"? will it do this, will it do that, blah! blah! blah! The Daily Express, of course with their usual rubbish, over-the-top weather headlines warned us of "100mph winds".
Unfortunately, although the computer models predicted the storm very accurately I don't think the actual forecast by the Met Office or the BBC was correct. Right up until yesterday evening they were still showing a map predicting 70 to 80mph gusts as far north as the Midlands. Forecasters spoke of a 'squeeze' in the isobars and this is where the strongest winds will be. Clearly, surface charts predicted this to happen in the south and south-east of England only. As I expected, the area of damaging winds, say around 70 to 90mph occurred much more exclusive to southern England and not as widespread as forecast.I was listening to radio 5 live early this morning, just before 5am and Nick Miller was still giving out weather warnings of "damaging winds" over counties including Hertfordshire. My anemometer in Gt.Gaddesden (Herts) recorded a paltry 44mph, that's just 2mph more than yesterday! There was no more damage here than a few small branches down.I also noticed that storm damage shown in some of today's papers actually occurred in yesterday's high winds. An accurate prediction by the computer model, yes, by forecasters, no.
Steve Flitton
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Joined: 2011 Nov 29, 21:30

Re: The 'Big Storm' - Over-hyped?

Postby Richard Hunt » 2013 Oct 29, 09:47

To some degree is was over hyped, although best to be safe than sorry, and some people did die due to the high winds.
I was on the edge of the predicted storm track so I only recorded a max gust of 32 knots that day, and the rainfall was only 13.5mm, although it was the greatest daily maximum for some time. I know the southern half of England got the brunt of it and we escaped lightly, but the local weather forcasters where having a field day up here, it was almost the end of days the way some where going on about it.

The media seem to want the population to be in a constant state of fear, plus it sells papers etc. This is the norm today so I suppose we have to just let it wash over us.

Over hyped?, not for the south, but hyped up for as northerners.
COL Station: 25020.

Watson W-8681 AWS. Standard Stevenson Screen. Maximum and Minimum screen thermometers. Grass minimum thermometer.
5" Copper standard rain gauge. Roof mounted annemometer.
Richard Hunt
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Re: The 'Big Storm' - Over-hyped?

Postby greg_gruner » 2013 Oct 29, 10:09

I think the wind speeds were slightly less than the Met Office forecast. It was a difficult call, getting the track, timing and storm development all right. In fact the storm was still developing and I read that there were gusts >100mph in Denmark, so it continued to develop after it left us. I would summarise it by saying that it was a notable gale that probably recurs around every 4-5 years; nothing unusual in the British climate.1987 and 1990 were in a different league altogether, and this one should not be compared with them.

It seems, however, that the amount of damage, especially in terms of tree fall, was quite high in relation to the wind speed.I suspect this is due to the fact that many trees were still in full leaf and also the length of time since the last gale (there were a lot of a old and dying trees waiting to be blown over since the last proper "blow" in 2008). In light of that I don't think that the Met Office warnings were overdone. However, the press, as always, was guilty of exaggeration ("Stormaggeddon"!!!).
Greg Gruner
Farnborough, Hampshire
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Re: The 'Big Storm' - Over-hyped?

Postby Darren Rogers » 2013 Oct 29, 11:51

Over Hyped - yes
Understandable reasons for doing so - yes
Guilty parties - Met' O' only marginally so, but in a slight catch 22 position - BBC, definitely and 24 hr news coverage is very much to blame with the need to fill bulletins.

Up here in Cumbria it was possibly our better day for some time whilst remaining 'mixed'

EDIT:- as of 0900 hrs 29th I stand at 180.0 mm rain for the month, if I was betting man it wouldn't surprise me that despite only 2.8 mm on the day of Jude I still end up wetter than many Jude locations.
Darren Rogers
Maulds Meaburn
Cumbria (Half way between Shap and Appleby)
Darren Rogers
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Location: Cumbria - half way between Shap and Appleby in the Eden valley

Re: The 'Big Storm' - Over-hyped?

Postby John Wilson » 2013 Oct 29, 21:24

I am surprised that no-one in the media has congratulated the Met office on a very successful operation. They gave 4-5 days' notice of the storm; their timing was quite accurate, giving local authorities the chance to carry out a great deal of preparatory work. The Beeb wheeled out poor old Michael Fish and his 'hurricane' but did not emphasise that that particular storm happened over a quarter of a century ago. The art and science of forecasting have moved a long way since 1987 and we should be thankful for that. Some correspondents in my local newspaper today were effectively complaining that they had only had some strong winds and a bit of rain. What did they expect? After all, four people died over the weekend, but in a way we got off lightly. The next October storm might just be a lot more damaging and we need all the notice the Met office can give us.
Regards to all
John Wilson
COL station id44018
John Wilson
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Location: Arnold, Nottinghamshire, just off Mapperley Plains. 115m. amsl

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