Time to put weather ‘experts’ under greater scrutiny?

Drew McAdam pic, Gazette columnist
Drew McAdam pic, Gazette columnist

HERE we go again. Another headline warning of “Siberian Conditions” hitting us in the next few weeks.

Let’s just remember back to the beginning of November. The headlines ran along the lines of “Big Siberian freeze to hit Britain.’’

The so-called “experts” confidently predicted a bitterly cold December with thermometers falling at least as low as -15C.

They warned that snow could ‘‘hit the country even earlier than last year.”

And others added that “temperatures could plunge as low or even lower this winter.”

The forecasts for December and January were even worse. Basically, we would all be frozen to death by now.

Of course, it didn’t happen. In fact, it’s shaping up to be the mildest winter since records began over a century ago.

Having made a “prediction” like that, and got it so badly wrong, you would think that these forecasters would hang their heads in shame, padlock the door to their weather stations, and never return.

But no. Last week, they were once again grabbing the headlines with their predictions of icebergs floating along the Union Canal warning: “Britain set for month-long Siberian freeze”.

Time to put a stop to it all, I think.

And that was why I was delighted to learn that in South Africa weather forecasters have been warned they could face fines and even jail for issuing incorrect weather predictions.

The new law has been implemented to prevent panic and economic damage as a result of false predictions.

First time offenders could face a four or five-year sentence and a £400,000 fine while repeat offenders face a maximum of 10 years or an £800,000 fine.

You see, the merchants of doom who have had us all out stocking up on tinned foods, rock salt,and snow shovels are not employed by the Met Office.

They are characters who work from their garden sheds and base their predictions on tides and solar flares. I suspect they also use the entrails of chickens and tea-leaves.

So, causing widespread panic and having our councils spend a fortune preparing for horrendous weather conditions that just aren’t going to happen should cost them dear.

A huge fine or imprisonment is fair, I think.