HC Deb 27 June 1962 vol 661 cc1128-9
2. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will explain the reasons for the inaccuracy of the weather forecast for Whit Monday issued by his Department on Sunday, 10th June; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Amery

A rain area which developed suddenly about three miles up over the Atlantic late on Sunday evening 10th June was blown over the British Isles by a high-speed airstream. This development became apparent only about midnight on the Sunday and could not have been foreseen from the information available when the forecast referred to was being prepared.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that the forecast for Whit Monday given on the Sunday was a mess-up and that it led to disappointment for millions of holidaymakers? The forecast was dry and and sunny "but it turned out wet and cold over most of the country. Could the Meteorological Office make special efforts on these holiday occasions?

Mr. Amery

I wish we could be more accurate about these things. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear".] It is true that the forecasts given at 6.55 a.m. and 7.55 a.m. on Whit Monday proved a little inaccurate, but the forecast at 8.55 a.m. was, on the whole, generally accurate.

Mr. Lipton

Is it not a fact that the Meteorological Office is much more often right than wrong? If the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Gresham Cooke) does not like the forecasts, is there anything to stop him hanging a bit of seaweed outside his front door?

Mr. Amery

I think that, on the whole, the forecasts are more often right than wrong—which is why the Government take credit for the results of the Meteorological Office.

Mr. Elwyn Jones

Is this another disturbing illustration of the effect on the Government of the wind of change?