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November 24, 2005 8:53 AM   Subscribe

Who do you trust for weather in the UK?

We are planning on driving up to Manchester this weekend and I want to get an idea of what the weather will really be like. The weather channel website says to expect snow, wind, and snow. The BBC website says it should be partly cloudy and quite nice. I don't even consult the Met Office any more as they always seem to be wrong. Who can I trust (online) to give me the most reliable forcast?
posted by medium format to Science & Nature (16 answers total)
The Met Office.
posted by gaby at 9:14 AM on November 24, 2005

Uh... our mileage varies. I find the BBC's weather forecasting to be consistently wrong, and the Met Office to be right more often than not. The only system I recommend as generally accurate is putting your hand out of the window.
posted by Hogshead at 9:17 AM on November 24, 2005

The BBC get their weather data from the MET office, but just present it more prettily. I find their predictions to be really quite crap in the summer, but pretty good in the winter. Certainly they've been nearly spot-on here in Oxford, for the past week or so.

They currently say snow for Friday, sleet for saturday, and partly cloudy for Sunday. They update every day's forecast daily, however, so check again tomorrow.
posted by Mwongozi at 9:21 AM on November 24, 2005

The BBC Weather service actually uses Met Office data (indeed the BBC weather presenters are apparently employed by the Met Office). There are some specialised weather forecasting companies in the UK, though I think they may be more long-term predictors than short and are pretty expensive. Ultimately you're likely to be stuck with the Met Office, personally I find they tend not to be too accurate at 5 days ahead, I check the weather a lot online and the 5 day ahead predictions tend to have changed more often than not by the 2 day stage. 1 day ahead is usually pretty accurate.
posted by biffa at 9:24 AM on November 24, 2005

If you happen to have Firefox then you can install the "ForecastFox" extension. This gets data from accuweather which is US based but still seems to give a pretty good city by city forecast for the UK - at least you can use it to corroborate what the Met office is saying.

The coastguard's shipping forecast can also be pretty useful. Unlike the forecasts for motorists it is aimed at people who know what they are talking about and who are somtimes staking their lives on an accurate forcast. You would mostly be interested in the overall weather charts.

The mountain weather people similarly like to be very accurate.
posted by rongorongo at 9:39 AM on November 24, 2005

posted by blacksky at 10:00 AM on November 24, 2005

Generally speaking I find BBC Weather to be quite reliable, as long as you realise that you anything further out than three or four days is really very unreliable.
posted by adrianhon at 10:11 AM on November 24, 2005

I trust NO-ONE. That said, I currently live in Cardiff, and work on the basis that most days it is very likely to rain. Now that I think of it the same goes for Manchester, except that given the cold temperatures there at the moment it's fairly likely to snow.
posted by Lotto at 10:55 AM on November 24, 2005

This weekend is going to be fucking grim.
posted by bonaldi at 10:56 AM on November 24, 2005

You're telling me. The shipping forecast rongorongo linked to says the strong winds coming in at the moment are heading to be gales.
posted by biffa at 11:02 AM on November 24, 2005

I use konfabulator with the Met Radar plugin - no need to see forcasts, just look for left to right movement. They can't screw the radar image up :)
posted by DrtyBlvd at 12:16 PM on November 24, 2005

Well, having said that, they probably can.
posted by DrtyBlvd at 12:16 PM on November 24, 2005

The two times I've relied on Metcheck it's been horribly, horribly wrong so I'm sticking with the Met office.
posted by oh pollo! at 2:02 PM on November 24, 2005

I have a little boy who was literally bouncing out of bed this morning ( A 5.30 am for ***'s sakes!) asking "so has it snowed??""
Cos he's listened to the BBC say "Thursday 100% likleyhood for Snow all over the UK"" Ha-Ha
So, Please, someone tell me which service to use!
posted by Wilder at 2:53 PM on November 24, 2005

I've found Yahoo's forecasts to be a lot more reliable than the BBC's, with CNN's not far behind.
posted by cbrody at 3:14 PM on November 24, 2005

I disagree with oh pollo! - in my experience Metcheck has proven to be far more reliable than the BBC / the Met Office, and over a period of years.

Metcheck (which as far as I know is made by a team of amateur or only semi-pro meteorologists) tends to be more pessimistic than the Met Office, and given that British weather tends to be awful most of the time, it's usually right.

The other good thing about Metcheck is that you can really drill down into the hours, to get an idea of what the weather will be like in a particular area between 3 and 5 pm for example.

But basically: British weather cannot be predicted any more than five minutes ahead. So the best kind of weather forecast is the kind you can do by poking your head out of the window.
posted by skylar at 4:05 PM on November 24, 2005

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