HC Deb 16 January 1978 vol 942 cc48-9W
Mr. John Ellis

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many special warnings or flash messages the Metereological Office sent out during the period 11th to 12th January warning of the imminent onset of hazardous weather conditions;

(2) how many special warnings were originated by the Meteorological Office and then issued through the media in the following categories: television, radio and newspapers, that drew special attention to and forecast the onset of hazardous weather conditions in the period 11th to 12th January.

Mr. Wellbeloved

From 0235 onwards on 11th January 1978, the Central Forecasting Office issued as guidance to outstation meteorological offices six sets of gale warnings covering all 29 gale warning—land—areas of the British Isles. They warned of severe gales established in eastern districts and for some areas storm force 10.

Outstation offices—weather centres, etc.—issued the following numbers of special warnings or flash messages relating to the severe gales: television 8, national radio 14, local radio 40.

Newspapers received forecasts issued by the Meteorological Office at regular intervals from the Press Association. The forecasts covering the 11th to 12th January 1978 gave very good guidance on the gales. However, the Press is not a practicable medium for the disssemination of special warnings between routine forecasts, and in accordance with normal practice nothing was issued directly to the Press.

The storm tide warning services of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, which work in close collaboration with the Meteorogical Office, issued a number of warnings of high water levels along the East Coast for all dangerous tides of 11th January onwards. The warnings were addressed to county police forces, river authorities and various other local authorities.

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