Thursday, August 16, 2007

Here is my problem

I've got some real problems with the weather forecast. No, not only that I don't like it, but: as far as I can tell the weather forecasts in the UK seem to cover the entire country. Typically the narrowest I can get them is regions vaguely known as the South East or South West, or North by North West. Which one I am in? In New York I am used to a forecast that covers just my borough (Manhattan), and that too I am used to hearing a weather forecaster (a meteorologist, Dr. Joel Sobel no less) who looks at a radar image while he speaks (raining now in Brooklyn, should reach Manhattan around 57th Street in 12 minutes -- well not quite literally, but you get the idea).

After a session of extreme googling I finally came up with an hour-by-hour forecast just for London. The trouble is that most of the forecast is filled with symbols that look like this:

What pray tell is this? Sunny and cloudy with doses of heavy rain? (Note the ominous double water drop. Serious.) Sunny then cloudy followed by rain? Rain then dispersing clouds followed by sunny skies? I seem to recall from some math class that there are at least six distinct combinations.

What I'm always hoping for is something that looks like this:

I am told that if I stir out at exactly 10 am tomorrow then I am due at least one minute of pure sunshine.



Rupa said...

It means scattered showers with intermittent sunshine.So simple BB. I would have expected you to know these sorts of things.

howler said...

firstly, the best weather info is provided by the bbc: try the website

secondly, as london gets four seasons a day, weather forecasts become largely irrelevant.

and finally: don't be surprised if a fellow londoner asks you how well you're enjoying the sunny weather if there was a momentary sighting of some weak grey watery looking orb.

Bombay Beauty said...

Rupa: Thanks for clearing things up! But sometimes the obvious meaning is the most depressing.

Howler: Thanks for that tip. I was in fact looking at

but I've tried matching the weather to reality with mixed success. Often "clear" conditions find rain outside, but this is just a matter of terminology.

But indeed your last point is key. Even a brief glimpse of the sunshine seems to lead to odes and epodes in honour of the sun.



Lola Is Beauty said...

well, obviously it's because the whole of the UK would fit into New Jersey, silly. You could get really obsessed and check the bbc weather forecast daily where you'll notice that if on Monday it says Wednesday is going to be 23 degrees for example, on Tuesday the number will always be different. Same for the little symbols. I don't know what these met office people actually do - probably blindfold each other and work it out like "pin the tail on the donkey." It would be more accurate to put a pine cone out on your roof terrace. All you need to know is: there will be rain, showers, blustery wind, sunshine breaking through and severe flooding.

Bombay Beauty said...

Truth and wisdom have never spoken so clearly! BB

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