Bill Giles: weather forecasters need to stop behaving like “nannies”

The former senior meteorologist at the BBC says naming every winter storm risks making the public "immune to the warnings"

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Former BBC weatherman Bill Giles has criticised modern weather forecasters for “behaving like nannies,” suggesting that the naming of storms and other forecasting trends are over-dramatising the weather, with a risk that “exceptionally severe weather” won’t be taken as seriously.

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“On frosty and snowy nights does the forecaster really need to tell people to watch out on untreated roads and pavements?” Giles, who retired from the Met Office in 2000, writes in the new issue of the Radio Times magazine.

“I think they could safely just mention the ice and expect viewers to use their common sense.”

“Of course, if the forecast is for exceptionally severe weather, which happens about once every five years, then due warnings and possible consequences must be given,” Giles continues. “But to do this with all of the dozen or so named winter storms risks making people immune to the warnings.”

Later in the piece, he concluded: “So while we must consider the effects of severe weather on the population at large rather than just pure weather information, for weather warnings to be effective our forecasters must beware of behaving like nannies.”

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Read the full column in this week’s Radio Times magazine, available in shops and on the Apple Newsstand from Tuesday 7th March

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