Met Office April Forecast: "…drought impacts in the coming months are virtually inevitable."

UPDATE: Forecast humor on steroids, here

You can’t make up FAIL like this. First this story in the BBC Today:

Now let’s have a look at the official Met Office forecast for April, issued on March 23rd, 2012:

Met Office 3-month Outlook

Period: April – June 2012 Issue date: 23.03.12


The forecast for average UK rainfall slightly favours drier than average conditions for April-May-June as a whole, and also slightly favours April being the driest of the 3 months. With this forecast, the water resources situation in southern, eastern and central England is likely to deteriorate further during the April-May-June period. The probability that UK precipitation for April-May-June will fall into the driest of our five categories is 20-25% whilst the probability that it will fall into the wettest of our five categories is 10-15% (the 197-2000 climatological probability for each of these categories is 20%).


As a legacy of dry weather over many months water resources in much

of southern, eastern and central England remain at very low levels.

Winter rainfall in these areas has typically been about 70% of average,

whilst observations and current forecasts suggest that the final totals for

March will be below average here too. The Environment Agency advises

that, given the current state of soils and groundwater levels in these

areas, drought impacts in the coming months are virtually inevitable.

Read the entire forecast here:

Saved copy here: Met_Office_A3-layout-precip-AMJ

Obviously, the power sucking supercomputer they recently put online needs to be bigger.

It is capable of 1,000 billion calculations every second to feed data to 400 scientists and uses 1.2 megawatts of energy to run – enough to power more than 1,000 homes.


GIGO me thinks. This isn’t the first time this has happened:

Red Faces At The Met Office

Met Office admits they botched snow warning

And then there’s the BBQ summer fiasco, which prompted replacement of the seasonal forecasts with the shorter term one you see above:

Met Office ends season forecasts – no more “BBQ summers”

Maybe they should stick to DART (Digital Advanced Reckoning Technology) which  can do the job of making forecasts equally well, using less power, less space, and less money:

h/t to Charles the Moderator and Adrian Kerton over at CA in comments.


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Jenn Oates

My daughter in England has mentioned the copious rain (my iPhone tells me it’s raining there now, as a matter of fact), I’ll have to make sure she sees this so she can roll her eyes too. Heh.

Kurt in Switzerland

Precious. Just precious.
Kurt in Switzerland


“Obviously, the power sucking supercomputer they recently put online needs to be bigger.”
I doubt it is the computer’s ability that is the problem. GIGO, SSDD.


At least they get the wrong answer faster with the newer computers. Thats good, right?

stephen parker

As soon as the met office announced a drought, we knew what would happen.Same thing last summer.Anything past three days out, your better off with a pine cone!


They’ve been Flannery’ed.


LOL ! The British Met Office must have taken its cues from the Australian BoM and Tim Flannery.
Back to basic for these nincompoops, no supercomputers just an abacus to keep them busy. You have to have a loot of time on your hands to come up with the rubbish that they do.
Must be very embarrassing for the MO section that is trying to engage at Bishop Hill, Dr Betts et al, to have to deal with such guff.

Last I read the British were in for water rationing what the heck happened?


I understand that Tim Flannery has been in Britain recently. Perhaps this is another manifestation of the “Flannery Effect”:


The long range forecast from netweather said April was likely to have above average rainfall this year.


JustMEinT Musings says: “Last I read the British were in for water rationing what the heck happened?”
Given the UK Warmist oligarchy, somehow rationing will still be deemed necessary, if only to keep the proles in their place. This will all turn out to be “the wrong kind of rain.”

“…drought impacts in the coming months are virtually inevitable.”
Well, of course. Computers can only make virtual forecasts…


If they just reversed their long term predictions they’d be right every time, however they always go for the warmer scenario (2007 was another classic where they warned of a drought coming and it rained all Summer). Basically colder conditions bring dryer Winters and wetter Summers as the influence is from the north not the west (as normal).

I need permission to use my hosepipe to clear the floodwater

F. Ross

A friend of mine has an old Commodore 64 stuffed away back in a closet somewhere that he would possibly be willing to sell to the Met Office for a reasonable price. Probably doesn’t use quite as much power as their whopper of a teraflopper. Probably wouldn’t flop as badly in its prognostications either.
Anyone know Met Office’s purchasing contact info?


The Australian BOM uses the software from the UK Met Office.


In fairness to the MO…oh, to hell with it…

The Infidel

LOL, the drought that will never end here in Australia is so bad I cannot get my lawn mowed for all the rainwater laying about.
Honestly, these days if the BOM says something, I tend to say, “its almost garanteed it will be the exact opposite to what they say”. Perfect example was the floods we recently had here, everything was lining up almost exactly the same as 74, so I told my wife, we needed to prepare for the possiblility of floods, the BOM on the other hand only figured it out as the dams overflowed and the flood happened.
but at the end of the day, they do give me a good laugh, they are my version of the clowns and the circus.

J B Williamson

Richard says:
I understand that Tim Flannery has been in Britain recently. Perhaps this is another manifestation of the “Flannery Effect”:

Its much simpler that that: The two conditions for rain are to have a hosepipe ban at the start of the cricket season. Works every time:-)
Oh, and its still raining in Sussex as I type this.


Olympics and Wimbledon round the corner? Guaranteed rain!

Robin Darnell

I bet they still get their bonuses! This mob should be privatised, we would see how long they continue to operate then. By the way, bet you can’t guess what the weather is doing in Sheffield this morning.

I rarely watch BBC TV news, and a but short but fruitless wait for some heartening news that David “Murdoch” Cameron was actually going to do something other than mash his gums, confirmed I’m justified. One of the studio “reporters” informed an assumed gullible audience that basking sharks have been drawn to UK waters in larger-than-usual numbers because of the “warm spring we’ve had”. Wait, what? WHAT???
Minutes later I see a reporter in gumboots standing alone on a bridge, above brown foaming waters informing that same gullible public that the flooding in the West Country was severe because “rain runs off dry hard ground”. Wait, what? WHAT??/ After the wettest April in living memory? Encompassing the West Country also? He also blamed the still rising waters on rainfall over the previous 24 hours, when it at least that for the run-off to accumulate in tributaries and reach the lower, flatter area he was standing in. Wait, what? WHAT???
It had stopped raining hours earlier, and he said the worst might come over the next 12-24 hours, accurate for once, and in fact contradicting what he’d just said. He’d called the flooding an “unfolding disaster”, whose dreadful consequences included that some horses had needed rescuing from a flooded field, and that some motorists had difficulty getting to work. Declare a National Emergency! Does the Beeb think we’re all stupid, or do they employ just anyone these days? Don’t wait, just exclaim WHAT???

Lew Skannen

As stated above I think this might be the Flannery Effect. The Gore Effect is well known so is only fair that another leading crackpot have an effect named after him.
If both of them turn up together I imagine you get a snowy blizzard. If Ove Guldberg turns up as well you get a snowy blizzard which results in unprecedented coral growth. If Robyn Williams (Australian ABC Science Show) comes along you can expect a wet snowy coral blizzard with falling sea levels etc…

Phillip Bratby

It always works. In the two weeks since the drought order came in where I live, we’ve had 7inches of the stuff.

john edmondson

It gets worse. Over here we are still in “drought” as this is the wrong sort of rain. Apparently the rain is too dry and runs away into the sea, which luckily is wet.
May is going to be worse (according to Piers – coldest for 100 years 85% confidence), lets hope the rain (or snow?) that falls will be wetter.


how was this for the weather in the mining State of Queensland, Australia on the day the ABC showed their ridiculous “I Can Change Your Mind About Climate” propaganda (26 April). you can imagine the jokes that were going around:
26 April: News Ltd: Br-r-risbane: Record-breaking cold snap
A RECORD-breaking cold snap hit northwest Queensland yesterday, as the beef town of Camooweal in the far northwest recorded its lowest daytime temperature in 29 years…
Overnight, the mercury plummeted to 1.6 in Oakey, which was officially the coldest spot in the state. Warwick was 2.8.
It dropped into single figures in Brisbane, with the airport recording a low of 9.8C. Amberley was 4.6….
And we can expect chilly mornings to continue after the state recorded its coolest temperatures since October 4 this morning.
Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Michael Knepp said cloud-free skies contributed to this morning’s snap.
“There’s a lot of dry air coming into the atmosphere and there’s a little less cloud in the sky, which is making things a little colder,” he said.
“But these temperatures are pretty typical of this time of year – there’s really nothing out of the ordinary.”
Frosts are expected in the southeast interior and southern Queensland this morning…


“The coldest or near coldest May for 100 years”- that’s the prediction from the eminent astrophysicist and long range weather forecaster Piers Corbyn for the coming month. More people should listen to him.

david brown

actually increased rainfall can only come from increased global heat. seeing it is heat that creates evaporation. drought or flood both mean the planet is warming. worst rain in a 100 years? gee the planet is warming up faster than i thought

JustMEinT Musings says:
April 30, 2012 at 10:26 pm
Last I read the British were in for water rationing what the heck happened?
They got a triple ration…perhaps.
I couldn’t help but noticing the “WeatherBell” ad next to the first few comments. I wonder what Joe spent on his computer…

Lew Skannen

By the way, under Australian Government Naming Convention we don’t refer to it as ‘water’ anymore.
It is ‘hydrogen pollution’.

Ken Hall

The problem is a number of factors have come together at once to create floods during an official drought. Firstly there is the low level of rain fall over the last two years. Every few decades there are periods like this. This dry spell coincides with a big increase in population in the south east and an increase in the amount of water using appliances compared to the last comparable dry spell in the 1970s. This means that the water table in the south east has become depleted, causing the drought.
Set against this is a large increase in housing and roads in the south east, building on flood-plains, with new flood management schemes and this significant change in land use means that heavy downpours are more likely to create floods, which run off into streams, rivers and on to the sea. So less rainfall makes it down into the water table.
All these things combine to create a real drought (due to a low water table) with floods if it rains heavily.
As for the Met office’s prediction of a drier than Normal April, when it was the wettest in a century? That is fair criticism.

david brown

A warmer climate, with its increased climate variability, will increase the risk of both floods and droughts (Wetherald and Manabe, 2002 ] . As there are a number of climatic and non-climatic drivers influencing flood and drought impacts, the realisation of risks depends on several factors. Floods include river floods, flash floods, urban floods and sewer floods, and can be caused by intense and/or long-lasting precipitation, snowmelt, dam break, or reduced conveyance due to ice jams or landslides. Floods depend on precipitation intensity, volume, timing, antecedent conditions of rivers and their drainage basins (e.g., presence of snow and ice, soil character, wetness, urbanisation, and existence of dikes, dams, or reservoirs). Human encroachment into flood plains and lack of flood response plans increase the damage potential.


Haven’t they heard of ‘April showers’?


I noted this also. One wonders why these fools listen to climate astrologers, aka scientists, instead of meteorologists. Who hit it spot on, by the way.

Steve C

Yep, it’s fair to say that the UK is currently experiencing the wettest drought on record. Luckily, I always did appreciate surrealism.

Two years ago I was trying to lay a flat roof after building work.
So, I checked the weather forecast the day before and as it looked fine for working I got ready and …. just in case put a tarpaulin over the roof (it already had the undercoat).
Next morning I awoke to snow … not just a bit, but enough to strand people for 8 hours on a short stretch of the major Scottish motorway between the two principle cities. It didn’t help that the police refused to let people get out of their cars … it being a motorway … although no one was moving … it could be a dangerous place … who knows why.
So, of course I was quite looking forward to listening to the Met Office spokesperson squirming as to why they did not forecast it.
So, imagine my absolute disgust when this guy comes on and says: “we did forecast it”. It was never actually clear when they did finally “forecast” it, but I suspect it wasn’t until the snow started falling in parts of Scotland and anyone with even a basic knowledge of weather patterns could have seen what we were in for. But, the point was, it wasn’t a forecast. OK, if they had said “a risk of heavy snow, keep tuned” during the previous day – I’d have let them off with that. But as I said, I checked the forecast at the end of the previous day(light).
The real problem with the Met Office is that they aren’t even honest with themselves. They used to make bold forecasts (based on the evidence) and when they got it wrong (which is was far less than now), they made a bold apology … and we liked them for it.
Now, they try to hide their timid “forecasts” in a sea of non-sense graphics and then, even when their timid forecasts are shown to be carp … they get some spokesperson to lie … perhaps not technically, but certainly for the average person, they did not forecast the weather and that is what they had the gall to state openly on TV.

How on earth has mankind survived all these years without these useless models?


I find it amusing that a UK drought means about 3 weeks with no rain. It’s still green but there are hosepipe bans because of no (major) water storage – its not normally needed.
Hosepipe bans in the UK are nothing new – I remember them from visits in the late 1970’s and late 1980’s. And from the news as a young child.
If you want a drought, go to Australia or Africa. 7 years with no rain is a drought. 3 weeks is a big stink about nothing. Get over it!

Policy Guy

Late season rain/snow has saved Northern California’s reservoirs (which means all of CA water consumers) this year. All of the largest northern CA reservoirs including Shasta, Oroville, Trinity and Folsom are between 95% and 100% capacity. And we still have some spring snow melt to come. These reservoirs are being managed (inflow/outflow) with incredible skill. Southern CA reservoirs are at 75%-80% capacity range.
The early dry winter sent fears of draught and water was retained, not released. This apparently has led to a very successfully managed reservoir strategy when the late season storms allowed them to fill without threat of flooding. We should give these engineers a high five for extraordinary work this year!
From a weather perspective, I have to say that we benefitted from the weather fluctuation this year. Last year we had incredible snows throughout the season, but I recall that we ended up with lower storage than this year.

Datacrash …. like a car crash, the vehicles departing from their required line, heady off out of control with no one being able to do anything about it.
But a datacrash, is where a hypothesis is used to predict the future, and slowly slowly, like watching a very slow car crash in action, the data goes no where near where the prediction put it.
Watching datacrashes It’s a bit like watching rally car racing,… except in climate “science” it’s more like stock car racing.

The Met Office seems unable to do anything except extrapolate more of the same. The hype about drought has been going on for months. And now it is the wrong kind of rain. Prats.

There’s been a fairly lively discussion on Bishop Hill for the last few days on the issue. Poor Mr. Betts has been reduced to repeating the Met O standard disclaimer out of loyalty to his employers. Most of us have been there at some stage in our professional careers. Netweather are more honest, carrying the message that”…it is important to bear in mind that forecasting at this range is is still in it’s infancy so can be effectively be considered experimental. Anyone with experience of Northern Europe weather’s chaotic patterns can empathise with this. If the Met. claimed less skill and admitted to more experimentation, they would attract far less unfavourable comment.

Kurt in Switzerland

The Met Office Outlook for April, May and June was not issued on March 12th, it was issued on March 23rd (less than nine days before the start of what would become a record wet April).
In hindsight, perhaps they should have waited until April 1st to issue that fateful outlook.
Kurt in Switzerland


The problem here folks is that you are too impatient and are looking at the raw data. You have to wait for it to be adjusted. Once that has been done, you’ll find that the predictions were quite accurate. (and never you mind those folks that lived in that area at that time and say different, that’s just anecdotal stories)

BOM predicted an above average cyclone season for Queensland with 5 cycones expected with at least two to make landfall. Actual number: Zero. My mother used a pin with her eyes closed to pick Melbourne Cup winners. She was right most years. Pity she passed on two years ago, the Met Office could have done with her skills

The AO and NAO have been very difficult to predict, and with the unusual jet stream patterns thrown in it is near impossible to predict with certainty a future weather pattern down to the country. The MET office has failed miserably again showing the futility. With solar output and UV so low we are seeing patterns not seen since 1800.

Almah Geddon

Here in Australia we have a new unit of measurement for rainfall well in excess of the average. It is known as the Flannery, equivalent to the old style inch.

Michael M Mason

It’s the Wettest Drought Since Records Began!