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Patronising weather reports - Robert Nurden

Blog | By Robert Nurden | Jun 27, 2022


Why do weather forecasters make their predictions in down-with-the-people language, which serves only to confuse? By Robert Nurden

On Radio 4’s Today programme, I heard the ridiculous expression ‘rattle the windows’. Seconds later came ‘wet and windy fare’ and finally ‘How do I break this to you gently?’

Within days of hearing that tsunami of nonsense, I’d added more to my list of informal gobbledygook: ‘plume of cloud’, ‘get out and about after tea’ and even this one: ‘13 to 14 degrees? No way, Jose! More like three or four.’

The culprit was often weatherman Phil Avery. You’ve got it wrong, Avery. Your evangelical drive towards colloquialism has nothing to do with trying to make the weather more intelligible. I suspect it has everything to do with you, as a fact-filled meteorologist, using the airwaves to bend our ears with your brand of repressed lyricism. How dare you foist this obfuscating drivel on us!

I wonder if, deep in the bowels of the Met Office, they hold seminars on how to soften the impact of unpleasant-weather predictions by aping the style of the proverbial, mealy-mouthed vicar – a kind of curate climatologist.

I’ve also heard ‘The wee small hours of Monday’, ‘Lovely day – wish I’d seen some of it’, and ‘Let me get you out of the door first’. This weather-lite school of approachability is nanny-state encroachment.

Leave us alone! We’re British and we’re used to hearing about nasty weather. We’re quite capable of putting up with a bitter wind. We don’t have to be told that ‘cold air will slump down and whistle through the rigs on Friday’ or that ‘five to eight should just about cover it’. Abandon your woke, snowflake language and just tell us – simply – what the weather is going to do.