U.K. St. Judes Storm: Maybe I should go into forecasting

October 28th, 2013 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

What a coincidence. Seven days ago I noted a big blow coming to the UK for today (Monday) when I announced our new WeatherStreet.com pages for the GFS model output:

New Europe, Australia, etc., 10-day forecast products

On second thought…it’s probably safer to stick with climate forecasts…few people will remember that you were wrong.

25 Responses to “U.K. St. Judes Storm: Maybe I should go into forecasting”

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  1. Fonzie says:

    “… few people will remember that you were wrong”

    Unless ,of course, you happen to be a skeptic…

  2. Stuart L says:

    Yes even now, many years later people still remember Michael Fish, and his wrong forecast about a UK hurricane

  3. bev says:

    My relative on the South Coast of England tells me that it was less intense than 1987. Tragically, several people were killed.There are always a few persons who drive near trees, and visit the shore, oblivious to the extreme dangers at such times.

  4. ren says:

    Dr. Spencer, the jet stream is accelerated due to the high solar activity.

  5. steveta_uk says:

    On Tuesday last week I mentioned to the wife that there was a big storm coming for Sunday/Monday, thanks to Dr. Spencer.

    On Thursday, I heard the BBC report the big storm coming, and commented to the wife that we’d known about it for a couple of days, thanks to Dr. Spencer.

    Yesterday, in the aftermath of the big storm, the BBC and Met. Office were congratulating themselves repeatedly on having predicted the big storm a week ago.

    Maybe they did (internally) but they didn’t tell anyone until the press release on the 24th (Thursday).

    So Dr. Spencer was 3 days ahead of the M.O.

    I’ve bookmarked the forecast page. Thanks, Dr. Spencer.

    P.S. Michael Fish was correct – there was no hurricane in 1987, as hurricane is simply the wrong word for a storm in the UK, which he did forecast.

    • Toneb says:


      The major Met centres all had the idea of a baroclinic wave system getting swept along by the strong westerly jet, this crossing to the cold side and explosively deepening around about the UK. The difference is with Roy and some independent forecasters (read pirates of the GFS) are able to say so well ahead. It does not matter to them if they are wrong (not Roy but the independents who gain publicity and afterwards the public merely think “Forecasters” got it wrong .. eg UK Met). The UKMO cannot do that, it has to balance responsibility as the Nation Met service in getting to a stage where the probability is high enough to go public or risk crying wolf and creating more harm.

      PS: I was a UKMO Forecaster at a military airfield during that episode and unfortunately the longer range forecasts had the track correct whereas closer in the track was forecast to be up the Channel, thereby taking the winds over northern France. It should be said that the storm was always forecast to be a bad one.

  6. Ray says:

    A few other people noticed this too!


    It didn’t quite turn out to be the “storm of the century”.

  7. steveta_uk says:

    Ray says: ‘It didn’t quite turn out to be the “storm of the century”.’

    Don’t you have to wait another 87 years to be sure?

  8. John Moore says:

    How often is the GFS accurate +7 days out? I’m not a full time forecaster, but when I do use the GFS, I find it’s pretty sketchy 7-10 days out.

  9. ren says:

    Jet stream accelerated. Lows go north.
    This solar activity gives surprises in the weather.

  10. Dr No says:

    What would be the forecast if you doubled the CO2 concentration in the model and ran it for 100 years? I bet it would give you warmer temperatures.

    So, do not believe everything these scientists dish out to you. They are only in it for the money. The best weather forecast is one my grandpa taught me years ago – phases of the moon.

  11. Adam Gallon says:

    The Beeb only commented on the storm, because it blew through the south of England. Here in Lincolnshire, it was a complete non-event!

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