HC Deb 20 December 1961 vol 651 cc1345-6
25. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Secretary of State for Air why the Meteorological Office were unable to forecast the sudden lifting of fog between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on 15th December in the outskirts of London; and why forecasts of fog remaining dense till the morning of 16th December were given to the public in the early evening of 15th December, to the inconvenience of the public.

Mr. Amery

There was some indication during 15th December that fog, which had been forecast and had formed, might thin near London that evening.

There was, however, insufficient evidence to allow this optimistic view to be published and in fact the fog remained dense in areas north-west of London during the night.

This being so, it was consistent to forecast the fog continuing the next morning although in the event this proved to have been over-cautious.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I listened to the broadcasts carefully throughout the day, that at 6.45 p.m. I was told by WEA 2211 that the dense fog would remain until eight the next morning, and on that I altered my arrangements? Is he further aware that at Twickenham at 8.30 that evening a fresh breeze was blowing through the constituency? That wind blew the fog away, but the Meteorological Office made no mention of this wind of change, to the great inconvenience of the public.

Mr. Amery

Hindsight enables many of us to see more clearly.

Mr. Mulley

May we infer from that exchange that a new candidate has been adopted for Twickenham?

Sir G. Nicholson

Whatever may be the circumstances of this case, there is something wrong with this service. Is my right hon. Friend aware that there was an occasion in the summer when there was a wind of gale force blowing in the channel and that, between 12 and 24 hours after it started, the service knew nothing about it? I think that either something went wrong in London or that the percolation of the news from the Channel area was faulty.

Mr. Speaker

We cannot go back over the year.

Mr. Shinwell

If the right hon. Gentleman is to make himself responsible for answering questions of this sort and I put down a Question asking him whether on Saturday afternoon I can safely go to a football match because the weather will be fine, will he answer it?

Mr. Speaker

That is an hypothesis.

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