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The totally unpredicted summer of 2012

The winter of 2011 was very, very mild and the weather got really warm as March arrived.

I remember thinking as Matt, Malcolm and I were getting our boats ready for another season of Lyme Regis deep sea fishing and Lyme Regis mackerel fishing trips that this was the perfect start to the season and that maybe things could only get better. How wrong I was!

On the news at that time the talk was of water usage restrictions brought in by the government if we didn't have significant amounts of rainfall very soon. I can remember back to 1976, the last time we had a major drought, when my business absolutely boomed. We could work every day, with no gales and no rain. We had week upon week of high pressure sitting on top of us. Meanwhile as we all baked, everybody wanted to get out in a boat where it was cooler. “Roll on the next drought”, I thought, rather selfishly to myself.

Rainy dayNow back to reality. Last year Easter was good but the weather soon took a turn for the worse as we headed towards the summer that never came. Drought stories seemed to 'dry up' around the beginning of May. About that time I had a party of people out from Sainsbury’s. Two of them were in senior management and they told me how Sainsbury’s pays a large sum of money every year for long distance weather forecasts. Around Easter time they had learned that we were only going to have two good weeks of weather throughout the spring and summer.

Now those two weeks turned out to be the last week in July and the second week in August and that was it. We all remember what the rest of the summer was like! My question is: “How come the government didn’t have the same information that Sainsbury's had?” There should never have been talk of water restrictions in March and April because the knowledge was there for those willing to pay for information about future weather trends. Those in the know already knew we were heading towards the worst summer on record but the government still brought in a hosepipe ban over a huge area. Within days the heavens opened and within weeks large areas of the country were under floodwater.

I know another business that pays for weather forecasts. This chap grows loads of root vegetables for the major supermarkets and has fields full of crops in many parts of this country. He has just bought large areas in Spain for growing these crops because he feels our weather here in the UK is plummeting downhill.

Fingers crossed for a scorcher in 2013!

Published on 04/12/2012.

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