Sunday, 28 June 2009

Weather or Not!

Friday - Fair or sunny periods, and scattered thundery showers. JEP, Wednesday 24 June, p28

Did anyone ever see these showers? Did they materialise?  I've been hearing recently of wonderful new weather computers, but however they assess the local weather, they usually get it wrong by day 3. I think Jersey probably gets it so wrong because our forecasters take their main weather intelligence from the UK, rather than France - Normandy and Brittany are far better guides for local weather.

The hot weather continues, but will it match 1976. The BBC weather site notes that:

The real heat set in on the 23rd June and for 14 consecutive days the temperature topped 32°C at a number of places in southern England. Many long-standing records were broken. At Hurn Airport in Dorset and Cheltenham (Gloucestershire) it exceeded 32°C for seven successive days. This is without parallel anywhere in the British Isles in modern times. Many long-standing records were broken. At Mayflower Park Southampton a reading of 35.6°C on the 28th June ranks as the UK's highest June temperature.(1)

Just as with cold, heat brings significant risks for health. A serious scientific study of deaths from 1976 showed that the number of deaths rose because of temperature and the kind of heat.

The total deaths by day in Birmingham were analysed in relation to several weather variables from 24 June to 8 July, 1976 when the mean daily dry-bulb temperature remained continuously above 22°C, and for the preceding and following cooler fortnights. The average number of daily deaths reported to the Registrar increased significantly by nearly 20 per cent during this hot fortnight and by over 30 per cent from 3 to 5 July. The excess deaths were mainly of elderly men and women with cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease. The daily mortality correlated best with the maximum daily drybulb temperature and then with the mean temperature compared with the five other weather variables tested. The mean wet-bulb temperature on days one and three before death was the only measure of humidity tested to correlate significantly with daily deaths.(2)

So take this news story seriously, and make sure you drink enough:

Britain is braced for a 'state of emergency' heatwave this week, with warnings of deaths, water shortages and travel misery. Hospitals have been put on high alert for extra admissions – including many more heart attack victims – as temperatures could hit 33˚C (91.4˚F). The elderly and very young have been warned by health officials to stay indoors between 11am and 3pm. (3)


1 comment:

uruisg said...

I think each day's weather forecast should include a brief analysis of how accurate the forecast for the previous day turned out. They must do this behind the scenes - meteorology is a science after all - maybe we need to use FOI to get it out in the open!