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Errors - weathermen

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160429.  Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:13 am Reply with quote

Q: What links blossom to hurricanes?
A: They were both wrongly predicted, causing nationwide panic.

20 years ago, Michael Fish infamously soothed us with "don't worry, there isn't a hurricane on its way", but this year, Japan was thrown into chaos when the weather service, whose job it is to predict the exat day that the cheery blossom will bloom, got it wrong by three or four days due to a 'computer error'.

The Japanese celebrate the appearance of cherry blossom as a very auspicious event, and plan festivals, parties and other important events to coincide with it, hoping to garner favour with their ancestors.

The short life of the blossom, until it falls, is meant to signify that life is short, and should be enjoyed to the full. (Link to ephemera...)

Picture researchers: Nice map on that last link, showing the dates of appearance. Maybe that could be the basis for the question?

160433.  Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:19 am Reply with quote

There's a dialogue starting at post 42715 which seems to conclude that

1) Michael Fish was saying (correctly) that there wouldn't be a hurricane in Florida that day, and

2) that even if he had been talking about England he would still have been correct, as the storm that hit us wasn't a hurricane.

Can anyone remember why we didn't run that before? Any reason why we shouldn't do so now?

Picture Researchers: Helen, would we be able to get the original footage of Fish's famous prediction (famous to us old-timers, anyway - if you have no idea what I'm on about try to let me down gently). Hopefully he'll be wearing a funny tie at least.

Frederick The Monk
160440.  Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:33 am Reply with quote

Fish's explanation is here and the footage is here.

Frederick The Monk
160441.  Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:36 am Reply with quote

Frederick The Monk wrote:
...... and the footage is here.

Oh no it isn't - the BBC has removed it from their site.

But why??????????

160442.  Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:36 am Reply with quote

That may have been referring to this:
Michael Fish's famous line that there wouldn't be a hurricane was actually correct. He was referring to a tropical cyclone in the West Atlantic.

on this page.

Here's exactly what he said:
Earlier on today, apparently a woman rang the BBC and said she heard that there was a hurricane on the way. Well, if you're watching, don't worry, there isn't. But having said that, actually, the weather will become very windy, but most of the strong winds, incidentally, will be down over Spain and across into France.

From the second video link on that same web page.

But I didn't know that about hurricanes generally. In which case, we could use it as part of a general ignorance question. Everyone would walk straight into that...

160443.  Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:52 am Reply with quote

A hurricane is the term used for a storm that develops in the tropics, so in this sense, the Great Storm was not a hurricane. Hurricane Force (Force 12) winds are winds of 73+mph sustained for ten minutes or more, and don't include the strength of wind gusts. By this definition, Hurricane Force winds occurred locally, such as at Lee on Solent and Gorleston, but were not widespread.

So the only reason, it seems, that it wasn't a hurricane was down to the naming convention. Everything else about it was indistinguishable - i.e. the wind, destruction, etc.

Fish's story about the Florida storm doesn't make any sense...
However Michael wasn't talking about the UK at this point and was referring to a story in the News.

"My remarks referred to Florida and were a link to a news story about devastation in the Caribbean that had just been broadcast. The phone call was a member of staff reassuring his mother just before she set off there on holiday!"

Seems rather flimsy and 'post-rationalised'. I'm off to find it in its entirety on YouTube...

160446.  Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:54 am Reply with quote

Michael Fish said:

actually, the weather will become very windy, but most of the strong winds, incidentally, will be down over Spain and across into France.

The met office say:

The highest wind speed reported was an estimated 119 knots (61 m/s) in a gust soon after midnight at Quimper coastguard station on the coast of Brittany (48 02' N 4 44' W)

The highest measured wind speed was a gust of 117 knots (60 m/s) at 0030 UTC at Pointe du Roc (48 51' N, 1 37' W) near Granville, Normandy

160453.  Tue Mar 27, 2007 11:05 am Reply with quote

This is why the country got so het up over the 1987 storm:

More London-centric guff, Scotland regularly have stronger winds than those reported in London '87.

160459.  Tue Mar 27, 2007 11:15 am Reply with quote

But they all live underground, so it's nae bather.


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