Following the hoax internet story that the cenotaph on the Bristol City Centre was being moved to St Pauls and, furthermore, that some 700 people replied, plainly believing every word, is a worrying reminder that people really do believe that everything on the internet and in the papers is true. The more absurd and ludicrous the story, the more likely it is to be true. The Bristol Post, seemingly devoid of decent journalists, seems to be operating on that very principle.
‘Bristol is being warned to brace itself for grey skies and a summer washout’ screams the online edition tonight, with a report from the site Accuweather that we are going to have a terrible summer. For one thing, this is hardly news because as soon as the schools break up, the weather descends into chaos. We all hope for a warm and sunny summer but we all know that it’s pretty unlikely.
So, why choose Accuweather and not, say, the Met Office? The Washington Post researched Accuweather’s forecast and found their forecasts at the 25-day range “were often wrong by as many as ten degrees, no better than random chance and that the forecasts missed half of the fourteen days of rain that had occurred during the month of the assessment.” Now this does not represent vaguely accurate reporting: it’s wildly inaccurate reporting. Quite frankly, it’s guesswork. Accuweather’s reply was hilarious: “We do not claim absolute precision in such extremely long forecasts.” You can say that again.
Accuweather does say that it will be hot in Italy and in the Balkans, although it does stop short of saying it might be quite warm in Death Valley. For the UK, there will be no surprises this summer: “the unsettled weather will continue into the summer months” to which I reply, no shit, Sherlock.
The upshot of Accuweather’s weather guessing is this: it will be hot and sunny in southern Europe and unsettled in northern Europe. Just like it is every single year.
I know that there will be plenty of Post readers willing to believe this story because, quite frankly, because the paper says so and because that’s how it usually is.
On a positive note, it gives us yet another chance to moan about the weather, which was so better when we were young, except of course that it wasn’t.