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West is Best

The Met Office need to overhaul their Warning system

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I do think they could perhaps sit on the fence a little less. When lives are at risk anyway. I mean if they went overboard with their warnings and it all came to nothing, sure, people would call them dramatic and OTT but at least *hopefully* no lives would be lost.

If they had an inkling of the severity of the weather (they did) they should've issued the red warning earlier. It was left a little late.

We have had trecherous conditions here and it reminds me a little of 2010 or 2009 i cant remember which when the Meto forecast a few snow flurries in the wind for Basingstoke area. It ended up snowing for 8 hours solid and my girlfriend got stranded in Festival place. They are capable of severely underplaying things.

 

However the main problem is Joe Public is stupid. I warned a few people not to travel yesterday and they all regarded "Don't be over the top, we wont get anything." They all travelled and all got stuck. Not a lot you can do when people think they know better.

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1 minute ago, Azazel said:

I do think they could perhaps sit on the fence a little less. When lives are at risk anyway. I mean if they went overboard with their warnings and it all came to nothing, sure, people would call them dramatic and OTT but at least *hopefully* no lives would be lost.

If they had an inkling of the severity of the weather (they did) they should've issued the red warning earlier. It was left a little late.

We have had trecherous conditions here and it reminds me a little of 2010 or 2009 i cant remember which when the Meto forecast a few snow flurries in the wind for Basingstoke area. It ended up snowing for 8 hours solid and my girlfriend got stranded in Festival place. They are capable of severely underplaying things.

 

However the main problem is Joe Public is stupid. I warned a few people not to travel yesterday and they all regarded "Don't be over the top, we wont get anything." They all travelled and all got stuck. Not a lot you can do when people think they know better.

But that is what the Amber warning is for, which they issued days in advance!

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The difficulty you have is when they go the other way. Virtually all schools are closed in Surrey (despite Reigate having no more than 2cm of snow). This is from a teacher at my boys’ school...

‘I saw this on a surrey information page. 

This is why the schools are closing.
Surrey County Council:

We have just had a conference call with the MET office, Emergency Management Team and various Surrey agencies, and have received the following information:
The snow has been worse than expected and they are therefore extending the Amber alert for Wind and Snow to cover all of Surrey. This will be in place until 08.00 tomorrow morning.
We can expect between 5 to 10 cm of snow tonight, heavy until midnight and then lighter, but another flurry mid-morning.
There is a small risk of freezing rain.’

that’s from last night - it transpires that the amber warning didn’t need to be extended; consequently dozens of schools are shut...

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Like most things in life there are a multitude of factors affecting people's behaviour. 

The repeated crying wolf of the media is but one. 

Few nowadays believe the so called experts whether they be political, financial or weather. 

Met Office has been banging on about this cold period for some time. For whatever reasons the BBC were late to the game.

it is no surprise that due to the complexities it is impossible to give precise guidance more than hours beforehand, although in this case warnings and upgrades occurred during the days before.

As this is a one in 5 or possibly 30 odd years do we invest millions on the possiblity this might occur again next year and the year after?

Then there are the weather tourists with there being plenty on this forum who  must rush off and chase snow, tornados etc. etc.  I don't mind God smighting them but I do have a lot of concern and sympathy for those tasked with helping in their rescue.

Of course it is everybody else's fault in these times of let's blame someone else.

 

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Just now, Nizzer said:

But that is what the Amber warning is for, which they issued days in advance!

By and large I think they do a good job and I'm not one to bash them - i just think they can be a bit casual - in the forecasts i watched, they barely mentioned anything for my area. They DID highlight the south west and Scotland problems so kudos to them, but i have 2 feet drifts and an ice rink for an estate. The New Forest had the military called in.

The BBC who get bashed a lot DID highlight the extensive area of all day snow for me, but because they get bashed on here for being s**t i didn't pay as much attention to them, when in-fact they were spot on.

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The whole EU wide wind storm naming convention needs revising. But that can be left for another time.

I can't see where the Met have gobe wrong here, snow is rather unpredictable (more so than rain), they issued warnings where and when they were needed. However in events like this it is up to businesses to make decisions to send people home if bad weather is approaching and not have people gambling on coming to work or not when sbow is forecast during the latter part of the day. 

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Azazel said:

I do think they could perhaps sit on the fence a little less. When lives are at risk anyway. I mean if they went overboard with their warnings and it all came to nothing, sure, people would call them dramatic and OTT but at least *hopefully* no lives would be lost.

If they had an inkling of the severity of the weather (they did) they should've issued the red warning earlier. It was left a little late.

We have had trecherous conditions here and it reminds me a little of 2010 or 2009 i cant remember which when the Meto forecast a few snow flurries in the wind for Basingstoke area. It ended up snowing for 8 hours solid and my girlfriend got stranded in Festival place. They are capable of severely underplaying things.

 

However the main problem is Joe Public is stupid. I warned a few people not to travel yesterday and they all regarded "Don't be over the top, we wont get anything." They all travelled and all got stuck. Not a lot you can do when people think they know better.

Spot on......my local FB community page yesterday was a microcosm of how daft and brainless some people are.....dismissing the forecasts, calling the schools stupid for shutting early, people driving around like idiots, and then having the audacity to moan afterwards about the 20cm of snow we had paralysing the area.....Idiots!

Edited by ajpoolshark
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22 minutes ago, Paul said:

They did, but you don't seem to want to hear that. Amber is specifically a be prepared warning and was issued 2, maybe even 3 days ahead. Red is a take action warning, which by it's severe nature isn't something that can or should be issued widely or massively in advance when the specifics are unknown. 

Amber is no good for what we have experienced. And as I mentioned above, the colour is meaningless as a warning colour. It means put your foot down for most people!

Most of southern Britain should have been on Red and without a shadow of doubt Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset should have been. As others have mentioned above, much of northern Britain also should have been on Red as well as parts of eastern England: Lincolnshire and Norfolk for sure.

We don't see conditions like this often in Britain: once a decade probably. Most people are ignorant and unprepared and need repeated reinforced warning well in advance. That's what professional forecasters are supposed to do.

 

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2 minutes ago, West is Best said:

Amber is no good for what we have experienced. And as I mentioned above, the colour is meaningless as a warning colour. It means put your foot down for most people!

If that's what amber means to you, let me know when you're on any road I may be near, as I'll stay clear that day. I'd have thought to most people amber means caution, be prepared to stop (or do something), not ignore it and accelerate with whatever you may be doing. 

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Strongly disagree with this thread.

Last sunday the BBC were warning about the snow for the S/SW.

I think the Met O were spot on with the amount of red warnings and the timing of issuing them.

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33 minutes ago, Captain Shortwave said:

The whole EU wide wind storm naming convention needs revising. But that can be left for another time.

I can't see where the Met have gobe wrong here, snow is rather unpredictable (more so than rain), they issued warnings where and when they were needed. However in events like this it is up to businesses to make decisions to send people home if bad weather is approaching and not have people gambling on coming to work or not when sbow is forecast during the latter part of the day. 

As i mentioned earlier when you have haulage firms sending out these huge articulated lorries in the conditions yesterday was utter madness. I counted 10 all in a row on the a303 at a standstill. Maybe hefty fines for these firms could be the answer if driving under red warnings

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The fact of the matter is the met office issued red warnings the police told people not to travel but they still did and got stranded

It isn't the fault of the met office it is the drivers who ignore advice

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, Paul said:

If that's what amber means to you, let me know when you're on any road I may be near, as I'll stay clear that day. I'd have thought to most people amber means caution, be prepared to stop (or do something), not ignore it and accelerate with whatever you may be doing. 

The traffic light system is rather ambiguous really, in the way it is perceived differently by different people. Watch how people drive and blast through red lights just as it is changing from amber. It happens all the time, a significant minority really don't give a sh.. and they think they are immune to death because they are canned up in a metal shell on wheels.

We could try emphasising danger to life more quantitatively, but that might just confuse people. Ultimately, being free to do as you please and with no threat of punishment (such as curfews) that also means we kind of get the right to risk our own life's, and that of others.

My only complaint is that I feel the NW was slightly ignored. It was really bad yesterday and the winds this morning have been ferocious with a few trees down and some damage. There should be a yellow warning out for wind.

PS: I think the Metoffice have actually been forecasting this cold spell really quite well. The BBC seemed to be very slow to change.

Edited by Optimus Prime

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5 minutes ago, TEITS said:

Strongly disagree with this thread.

Last sunday the BBC were warning about the snow for the S/SW.

 

I don't agree with its basis either. 

Soon might be demands for everyone's bottom to be wiped. Of course only if it can be forecast correctly. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Paul said:

If that's what amber means to you, let me know when you're on any road I may be near, as I'll stay clear that day. I'd have thought to most people amber means caution, be prepared to stop (or do something), not ignore it and accelerate with whatever you may be doing. 

As it happens, no. I'm a careful driver: clean licence, no points and have never had to attend a speed awareness course.

But that neatly illustrates the problem with the warning system. You, and one or two others, are projecting your own knowledge onto the general population. Most people are pretty clueless about weather forecasting and don't know how to read weather charts. They need strong and persistent warnings to avoid dangerous conditions. They won't understand why, nor heed them. But by repeatedly passing on the knowledge, far enough in advance and with sufficient strength of purpose, it will get through.

Because we're not used to it, don't drive with snow tyres or chains, don't know how to drive in the conditions when we have, most people should not have been travelling in cars across much of Britain for the last 36 hours. It's simply too dangerous. The role in warning people about that lies with the Met Office, sufficiently far in advance and with sufficient strength.

The Met Office manifestly got this wrong both in terms of extent of the warnings and the release of them.

Edited by West is Best

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5 hours ago, West is Best said:

As it happens, no. I'm a careful driver: clean licence, no points and have never had to attend a speed awareness course.

But that neatly illustrates the problem with the warning system. You, and one or two others, are projecting your own knowledge onto the general population. Most people are pretty clueless about weather forecasting and don't know how to read weather charts. They need strong and persistent warnings to avoid dangerous conditions. They won't understand why, nor heed them. But by repeatedly passing on the knowledge, far enough in advance and with sufficient strength of purpose, it will get through.

Because we're not used to it, don't drive with snow tyres or chains, don't know how to drive in the conditions when we have, most people should not have been travelling in cars across much of Britain for the last 36 hours. It's simply too dangerous. The role in warning people about that lies with the Met Office, sufficiently far in advance and with sufficient strength.

The Met Office manifestly got this wrong both in terms of extent of the warnings and the release of them.

So what would you have done with all your weather knowledge backing you up?

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People are just too thick to understand the words "Do not travel unless urgent".

It really is that simple.

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43 minutes ago, Nick L said:

People are just too thick to understand the words "Do not travel unless urgent".

It really is that simple.

Too darn right. It is not as if the warnings are coming from just Mystic Meg. 

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WIB is totally wrong. If the public choose to make journeys that aren't essential then that's their fault 

The media has been going on about this for what seems like forever. I think the MO have done a good job in challenging circumstances 

Amber warnings were issued days ahead for SW England- these tell people to be prepared 

Perhaps the red for SW England could have been issued a few hours earlier so people could have not left their homes for work but that would be my only criticism

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I think some of the details of the warnings can be questioned, but to say people were inadequately warned is completely false.

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Thing I find that is quite nice are those people stuck somewhere or having a problem with the weather being laid back and slightly amused by their plight when interviewed by the media. God bless them having things in proportion.

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When they forecast blizzards last week on countryfile for the end of this week its was just time to stand up and take notice period because the blizzards certainly came 80`s style. 

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The met office need to look at how the warnings issued on their weather forecasts. Say for example the local forecast is light snow then why is a warning for heavy snow present. Or last summer dry and sunny all day yet a yellow warning for heavy thundery rain. Contradictory at the best and a bit of a farce.

The other thing is that they are slow to update so when there's nothing happening the warnings stay up to long.

Unfortunately there have been enough times and coupled with overblown media coverage when the warnings have been wrong so Joe public doesn't trust them and don't take any notice. This will probably get worse now we have two data sources supplying the weather data to the bbc. One day the presenter is going to be presented with a total contradiction. 

Otherwise the warnings were there as were the forecasts but people do silly things plus companies pressurize people into working when conditions aren't save which needs looking into and possible legislation brought in meaning that company directors are liable for manslaughter if their actions cause death of the workers or members of the public.

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2 hours ago, Nick L said:

I think some of the details of the warnings can be questioned, but to say people were inadequately warned is completely false.

I really can't see any problem with the Chief Forecasters assessment in the detail Nick. This is from tonight's yellow warning for Northumberland.

  • Northumberland

Chief Forecaster's assessment

Frequent snow showers are likely to continue feeding in from the North Sea on a very cold easterly wind. Due to the nature of showers, some places are expected to receive an additional 5-10 cm of snow per day, whereas other places nearby may only receive small amounts. Strong winds will lead to severe drifting of lying snow in places, as well as a severe wind chill, although these are expected to begin to ease through Friday night. This is an update to remove much of both southwest Scotland and northeast England where snow showers have largely died out.

This is exactly what occurred here over the last few days, only 5-6 mile North of my location had streamer after streamer for 4-6hrs as here got a few flurries at best..but on other occasions this location fared better than other areas a few mile away..

Damned if they do damned if they don't. Totally agree with you on the lack of understanding that most people have of the dangers traveling in adverse weather. Ive long claimed that common sense should be replaced with un-common sense as there seems to be quite a shortage of it going around..!!

 

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Posted (edited)

I don't agree with some of the met offices warnings how ever this time I think they did well with their warning system given the models were flip flopping at times it is hard to forecast snow best of times. if any1 is to blame then I would say it's the media crying woolf every winter. As for blankit red warnings I don't agree because if they did that then folks just not going to bother with it or take any notice that in turn could cost mor lives.

Edited by syed2878

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