Friday, January 04, 2008

The gathering storm (2)

I see that Piers Corbyn has started to make a bit of a habit of predicting the future, ie actually issuing forecasts prior to their validation time. While this is potentially a much more impressive feat than his previous habit of painting Texas bullseyes round the handful of events that happened to coincide with statements, selected a posteriori, that he claimed to have made some time somewhere in private, it is also riskier when repeated hysterical claims of devastation fail to be borne out. On with the game...

On the 2nd Dec he said:

Two more serious storm periods are forecast by WeatherAction for December:- Around
5th-9th and around 23rd to 26th. The 23rd-26th is likley to include storms as severe or
more severe than this one.

"this one" referred to an existing storm that he described as having "damaging winds and exceptionally heavy seas"

On the 25th Dec he said:

Update of Forecast of Storm activity during the period Dec 23rd/24th to 25th/26th .
The current situation is interesting and present forecast maps (noon 24 Dec) are not yet showing developments which are likely to occur.


the Christmas storm is likely to be more severe and potentially more damaging –particularly to Western parts of Britain (and Europe) - than anything experienced this November / December so far or since the storms of 1987 or 1990. The Christmas storm also coincides with full moon high tides on 24th December hence sea defences will be threatened.

Storm activity in the Atlantic and the Western British Isles is expected build up from the West from 19th December and become significantly more ferocious and then pass through Britain during the period 23rd/24th to 25th/26th . Tornado activity is likely – probably in the South, and storm tide surges likely eg on the South coast and Bristol Channel and/or France – threatening sea defences. Top winds on land or coast in the 65mph- 95mph are likely, with higher winds associated with Storm 11 or Hurricane force 12 at sea.

Winds will be damaging, travel will be disrupted and power lines are likely to be bought down in places so it may be advisable for some in exposed parts to cook early for Christmas.

The Christmas storm will be followed after a lull by another stormy system attacking from the West just before the New Year.

Snow at Xmas?

The Great Christmas storm is likely to bring colder air from the North later so Piers Corbyn and associates with WeatherAction have staked £500 with William Hill for snow on Christmas day in parts of Scotland.

Oh dear.

I see that he is now talking about -17C temperatures in January, perhaps in the hope that this will distract people from remembering what he was saying just a few days ago.

The average temperature for January as a whole will be close to
freezing - 0.8C (33.4F) at best.

I look forward to seeing how that one pans out.

Update 8 Jan

Well Piers has sent out a rambling grumble that the press have over-hyped his prediction for January. Apparently he didn't say it was going to be one of the coldest Januaries in the past 100 years, he merely said it was going to be one of the coldest 6 Januaries in the past 100 years. Of course he has my full sympathies over this dreadful misrepresentation. It must be awful to have the press turn your words round to mean something so completely different... Their report of his actual temperature prediction above stands unchallenged.

Interestingly, the BBC monthly weather review is up for December, and inexplicably there is no mention of this dreadful Christmas storm that Piers "correctly" predicted. Perhaps everyone was cowering indoors and unable to take the measurements :-)

And finally, Piers has helpfully told us that January will probably have a spell of bitingly cold Easterly winds. I'll top that with my own personal prediction that January 2018 will also have such a spell...anyone want to bet?


P. Lewis said...

Ah! I caught a –17°C in someone else's (honest, guv) Daily Express headline earlier this week about a "freezing forecast" early in the new year. Is that the source, do you know? (Would figure, I guess.) Having checked the Met Office website I concluded the Daily Express's –17°C must have related to the summit of Ben Nevis.

James Annan said...

The -17C figure is clearly tied to Corbyn in at least 2 news articles (here's another). To be fair, this seems like a warning of the lowest end of the range rather than a definite prediction, but the average of zero over the whole month is a firm prediction.

brian in the tamar valley said...

Although my blog isn't totally devoted to matters meteorological I find myself continually making entries relating to Piers. It's interesting to note from his press releases that the hype originates from him - it's not a tabloid add-on! His use of font sizes, vocabulary and colour doesn't inspire one to believe that here is a rational scientist.

His predictions for January in the UK aren't looking too promising at the moment. However such is the volatility of our weather that a short freeze can easily happen. After his apocalyptic prophecies for December I think he is in the 'last chance saloon' if he is going to get any credence at all. As of now he has just 26 days to get it right - I won't hold my breath!

James Annan said...

He has actually sent out an email attempting to row back on some of the hype - I will update the post shortly.

P. Lewis said...

Pseudo-CET temperature tracker

James Annan said...

Thanks, that's an interesting link. So judging from the current data and forecast, Piers is in line for a spectacular bust by about 5C, maybe even more.

P. Lewis said...

Yes. Spectacular failure looks likely given the current medium-range forecast (10 days or so) ... that or a final week/10 days where the average daily temp will currently have to be –10°C or so over that week to meet his target.

Of course, the error bars on his forecast could be +/–6°C!

James Annan said...

Of course, the error bars on his forecast could be +/–6°C!

Fortunately not, the 0.8C average value was clearly presented as an upper bound, which also tallies with the CET data for the year 1987, which he specifically mentioned in his later email.

Looking at the data and forecast, I wonder if it might actually end up as one of the warmest Januaries...but I'm not going to predict that now. 6C would put it in the top 10.

P. Lewis said...

"Looking at the data and forecast, I wonder if it might actually end up as one of the warmest Januaries ..."

That had crossed my mind, too. Another 10 days and ...

Henk L. said...

The monthly forecasts from Corbyn can be found here.
For the Netherlands he wants us to go skating an Elfstedentocht by the end of the month.

P. Lewis said...

Temp. update

It's (nigh on) exactly half way through the month and the average pseudo-CET now reads ~5.9 °C, i.e. ~1.7 °C above Jan mean CET. Which all means that the temp will have to average about –6 °C for the rest of the month to meet PC's forecast. And the chances of that (according to the current medium-range forecast)? Rearrange to form a well-known saying: "in chance snowball's a hell". In fact, the pseudo-CET looks to be heading above +6 °C.

brian in the tamar valley said...

Apart from the actual temperature figures predicted by Piers there are one or two other points of note in the 'WeatherAction' forecast for January issued on 29 December: "Generally drier than normal", "Weekends ... 19th/20th Blizzards and drifting snow especially in South/East Bitter wind" "Overalls Precipitation well below norm." Evidently Piers is ahead of the Met Office again regarding snow this weekend!!

James Annan said...

Continued on this post...