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 Come rain or shine!


April 2018

George Cowling in front of weather map
Pic courtesy BBC; showing George Cowling presenting the first televised weather forecast in January 1954

Oh how weather forecasting has changed from our youth! Who remembers the gentle black and white sketches which showed just a few simple lines explained by a man in a smart black suit and tie? Those were the days!!

Today we all need to understand yellow warnings and global graphics to get some idea of what might be ahead.

The UK’s Exeter based Met Office used to be the UK’s main supplier of forecasts. Set up in 1854 under the Board of Trade, it developed the first storm warning to alert ships of bad weather, using covered canvas frames in different shapes which were set alight at night. Today the Met Office employs more than 1,700 people in 60 locations across the world. Taking more than 10 million weather observations a day, they are still a global leader in weather forecasting.

But recently the BBC has changed its source of weather information from this august body to the MeteoGroup.  This private weather organisation is based in Europe and owned by a global growth equity firm General Atlantic.

The changes are hoped to save money and produce better results that will be consistent across all the BBC platforms including pc’s, tablets and smart phones. There are now high moving graphics and according to the BBC access to more weather data than ever before.

modern weather map
There will now be a more contemporary design with new realistic mapping
on the BBC’s weather forecast.

While the MeteoGroup will provide the bulk of information for the BBC, the broadcaster will still be working with the Met Office’s National Severe Weather Warnings and the BBC will also be working in partnership with the UK’s flood response agencies and the University of Leeds National Centre for Atmospheric Science.

There are improved interactive maps and other functions to really help everyone determine what they may be in for in their specific region and location.

Today though the hold the BBC has one weather forecasts has diminished enormously and many people obtain their forecasts from a range of different sources and increasingly from their mobile or tablet rather than from the main television weather forecasts. Along with the BBC, some of today’s top free forecast providers include the following with their website addresses. There are free apps available for all of them.

The Met Office
The father of UK weather forecasting and still providing the highest level of information especially about UK weather with easy location finder.

This is powered by the MeteoGroup, the new weather forecast providers for the BBC, and contains a wealth of information and clear graphics for both UK and global locations. Has a nice very readable section on weather news.

This offers hourly, daily and quarter of an hour forecasts and a range of features. There is also a Platinum version for £2.99p. with less advertising.

Yahoo Weatherwon an Apple design award five years ago and it has continued to offer excellent visuals and images along with hourly, five day and 10 day forecasts and a host of additional information.

Weather Underground is a refreshing new take on weather forecasting, based on nearly 200,000 individual weather stations located around the world. These stations are run by weather enthusiasts and you can visit any of the stations to get real time information.

The Weather Channel is probably better for American rather than UK audiences, but that said it offers a lot more than just a weather update, including science and nature clips.

The Weather Network
Useful for local detailed forecasts and also includes news and comment community pages.

Net Weather
Great clear visuals and some interesting facts too including the hottest and coldest spots around the UK.

The bad news on all these new sources of weather information is that, despite their great features, none of them have managed to improve the British weather!

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