Weather forecasters are refusing to do a Michael Fish and totally rule out a “storm of the century” hitting Lancashire next week.
But Met Office staff are privately having a chuckle at stories in some newspapers that all hell will break loose with high winds and monsoon rain along the west of Britain by Monday or Tuesday.
“We never say never - especially after what happened to Michael,” laughed one. “But goodness knows where these stories come from. It isn’t possible to accurately forecast beyond five days. All I can say is that our five-day forecast for the North West - which is normally incredibly accurate - doesn’t include the mother of all storms.”
The Met Office predictions until Monday show a mixed bag of weather across Lancashire, with spells of rain, mild temperatures, plenty of cloud and only moderate winds, mainly from the south-west. So far there are no indications that the region will be hit by gusts of 80 or 90 mph and torrential downpours bringing localised flooding, as predicted in some parts of the media.
Forecasters admit they have seen it all before, especially long range predictions warning of the coldest winter on record.
“About this time last year there were some saying we were in for an Arctic winter, the like of which we hadn’t seen for decades,” said the Met Office spokesperson. “Well, it didn’t happen. In fact it turned out to be only the 43rd coldest since 1910. It is true we are looking at stormy conditions next week. But that’s all we are saying at present.”
It was in October 1987 when TV weatherman Michael Fish famously assured viewers there wasn’t a hurricane headed England’s way. Hours later the south-west was hit by the worst storm since 1703.