If you trudged into the office in the rain this morning you, like me, might be wondering where the “Barbeque Summer” that the Met Office was promising back in April. Given our typically British fascination for weather the news seemed to visibly lift the faces of glum office workers and provide visions of summer frolics, happy garden parties, the delightful scent of family barbecues and lazing in pub gardens on sunny Sunday afternoons. In June we could have believed it was true with the blazing, sunny days and assorted Government health warnings so let’s just remind ourselves of that glowing press release that the Met Office put out on April 30th (not 1st) shall we?
The coming summer is ‘odds on for a barbecue summer’, according to long-range forecasts. Summer temperatures across the UK are likely to be warmer than average and rainfall near or below average for the three months of summer.
Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office, Ewen McCallum, said: “After two disappointingly-wet summers, the signs are much more promising this year. We can expect times when temperatures will be above 30 °C, something we hardly saw at all last year.”
Although the forecast is for a drier and warmer summer than average it does not rule out the chances of seeing some heavy downpours at times. However, a repeat of the wet summers of 2007 and 2008 is unlikely.
Well, they were right in that we’d get some “times” where temperatures were over 30 degrees as Wisley recorded a high of 31.8 degrees in June but saying he would “not rule out” some heavy downpours seems a serious underestimation in hindsight as some areas received twice their average rainfall, even in sunny June. You could probably sum up that forecast as “It might be hot, then it might not” and that “Barbecue Summer” was cooked up by some gormless intern in their press office but everyone will remember reading the “Barbecue Summer” quote in the news with, perhaps, some simmering resentment.
The BBC News website has also had enough and taken the Met Office to task:
The Met Office also says temperatures have been around or above normal, and that the end of August might be better again. It did indeed stress at the time of the summer forecast in April that the odds of a scorching summer were 65%. It explains that it coined the phrase “barbecue summer” to help journalists’ headlines. But this has come back to bite the organisation because many people do not feel like they have been enjoying a “good” summer, especially compared with previous searing years.
Indeed. According to the mean temperatures 2006 was the warmest July going and on current form this one won’t compare though with predictions like that perhaps they could get a job in the City…
Is the wet summer affecting your holiday plans?
Met Office Summer Forecast – 30th April 2009
BBC News – Met Office Cools Summer Forecast
Mean Temperatures for July to 2008
Google News articles on “Barbecue Summer” (via bit.ly)