The most misjudged UK weather reports, ever: A potted history

Last modified date

Comments: 0

The weather reports that grace our screens and online sites seem, today, to be pretty accurate. However, it’s not been unknown for weather reports to have been wholly inaccurate, and sometimes to fatal effects. So here we take a look at three of the most misjudged UK weather reports in history.

The Met Office’s Supercomputer and its all too many inaccuracies

We begin not so much with an isolated weather report, but with a collection of long term forecasts. And rather surprisingly these incorrect reports have been down to the UK Met Office’s supercomputer, which has:

  • Predicted in 2007 that the entire year would be the warmest ever, after which the average temperatures plummeted and were on average 0.7°C cooler throughout the year.
  • Predicted that between 2008 and 2010 that there would be warmer than average winters and hotter, longer and drier summers, when in fact the opposite of each became true.
  • Predicted that the winter of 2010 would be 2°C warmer than average, where after we suffered the coldest December ever since records began way back in 1659.


Following these inaccuracies, and just after £33 million was invested with the supercomputer of the Met Office, the organisation ploughed in another £97 million to upgrade it.


Michael Fish’s TV forecast that failed to foresee the worst storm in the UK for three centuries

This second entrant may well make for one of the worst forecasts in history. Dating back to 1987 when the UK’s top television weather broadcaster, Michael Fish, failed to forecast a hurricane! This was despite callers having phoned in to report sighting the storm approaching.

The hurricane resulted in 18 fatalities and winds speeds that managed to reach up to 115 miles per hour.


Colder than average July followed by ten years of wet summers

We finish with a relatively recent weather forecast, if only to highlight that forecasting is always an inexact science based upon complex (and sometimes very incorrect) models that are fed copious amounts of data.

This example hails back to the summer of 2013 when, with more data and advanced computer than ever before, the UK’s TV channel, ITV, predicted a July of unrelenting rain storms. What we got, however, was a July of barbecue weather. And to complete this forecast the summers since have completely contradicted the prediction of ten years to come of soggy summers (not that 2015 was anything to write home about, however).

At APIXU we’re pretty proud to say that our weather data has never been more robust, nor so accurate. So for data streams that won’t leave your app users with weather forecasts that are anything but correct, choose the APIXU Weather API each and every time.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Post comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: