30th October - Today's News: No Piers, You Did Not Forecast The Storm!

Surfers in Portugal ride towering waves whipped up by storm

And how powerful was Monday's storm?   Pleased to see the MetO reference the 3rd Jan 2012 storm as I've been doing the past few days.

Paul Lister plans to push ahead with Alladale wolves plan - some years after he closed Alladale bothy (at short notice) to turn it into a luxury holiday cottage in the midst of what he planned to become a private wildlife park for the rich.   Personally, I'd love to see wolves reintroduced to the wild in Scotland and would certainly have no fears camping alone in the hills knowing they were about.   But I don't want Alladale fenced off.

And finally, our old friend Piers Corbyn decided to name Monday's storm after himself because, he claims, he predicted it 6 weeks in advance.  Did he?  Er ......This is his actual forecast on which he bases his 'success' (for the period 29-31 Oct):
Ferocious rain, thunder and winds attack S/W parts and head east, bringing heavy rain, hail, thunderfloods and tornados likely, firstly in S/W parts and then in east and north. Thick cloud. Very mild nights, days also mild (less so in SW).
There were, of course, no hail, 'thunderfloods' or tornadoes, and most of Ireland, Wales England and all of  Scotland had relatively benign weather (especially compared with the windy conditions of the preceding days)  Also worth noting that for the actual period in question (though he always argues that if he's a day out it still counts as a 'hit'), neither days nor nights have been mild.  But it has been mostly dry and sunny so far with light winds and a touch of frost in places this morning.  The forecast is actually not too far out for what we had last week, although predicting such weather in October is like predicting snow in Scotland in January.  There is nothing in his forecast to suggest an especially bad storm, let alone one with a sting jet on the 27th/28th October affecting only the far south and SE of England.   Fail!!!


  1. Now that Piers publishes his past forecasts, it's possible to compare them with what actually happened (from the Met Office monthly summaries). He's not very good, is he? I also notice his forecast for the storm was only 65% confidence. Piers and his little band of followers remind me of the People's Front of Judea from "Life of Brian"...

  2. It would be useful if someone from the scientific community - or maybe a writer with a scientific leaning, took it upon themselves to verify 6 months of Piers' work to cut through his bluster and his confirmation bias ridden verification techniques. I realise that there was work done in the mid-90s on this in an astrophysical journal but revisiting his work is worthwhile. From a completely neutral perspective you have to place doubt in anyone whose main exposure to us is through the sensationalist Daily Express.

  3. I think Piers is very unlikely to allow anyone who did not already support and agree with him to properly 'test' his forecasts - he dislikes even the most constructive of criticism (I know, I've tried!). There is also the question of what constitutes a 'success'. I don't think anyone but Piers and his followers would consider forecasting a spell of wet and windy weather with thunderstorms across the whole of Britain for the period 29-31 Oct to be a successful forecast of a specific windstorm affecting the south of England only on the night of 27/28 Oct? I recall he also once claimed success after failing to forecast record rainfall and floods in Ireland, but correctly forecasting that rain in Ireland would be 'less' than in England (there was even more rain on that occasion in Cumbria). In terms of general trends (ie "end of Oct wet & windy; middle of December cold and frosty") he doesn't seem to do too bad (though whether it's better than chance I couldn't say). It's when he claims success on specific weather events (which his forecasts do not mention) that he lets his credibility down.


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