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Grantham Journal column: Weathering the storm

By Dr Gillian Sutherland

Peter Clawson.
Peter Clawson.

Have you noticed that Grantham’s weather seldom follows the same pattern as that shown by forecasters on television?

The extremely expensive computers often promise long periods of warm sunshine and what do we get? It rains. Not a lot, but too much.

Then again the highly paid pundits forecast bands of heavy showers sweeping across the country during morning and afternoons and what happens? Reluctantly we postpone that long planned picnic and walk through the lovely Lincolnshire countryside and the threatened downpours don’t arrive until too late in the evening to do anything about it.

On top of this there are so many conflicting forecasts on different channels, you cannot be sure who will be right. It’s as if they are competing with each other to see who can spoil your day the most dramatically.

Bulletins are also so frequent that, when things go wrong throughout the day, they can switch maps to make their predictions appear correct. The result is that we confused viewers end up not knowing what to do and where to be at any particular time.

For many years I was lucky enough to have my own infallible solution. My dad was a self-taught weather expert.

Each morning he would go outside, lick his forefinger, stick it up in the air, then come back into the house and tellus what the weather would be like forthe next 24 hours.

He was never wrong. Why? Because during the war he was an ambulance driver at Fulbeck aerodrome. During long periods of inaction, he was based at the airfield’s weather station’. Instead of lazing around, he studied the climate, watched, learned and became a weather pundit.

“If they employed me instead of those idiots,” he used to say in post war years, “it would be more accurate and cost a lot less.”


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