The Daily Express has run the same weather story every year for 5 years - and got it wrong

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Tuesday 27 September 2016 07:45
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Picture:(Daily Express Online)

The Daily Express has a number of topics it really likes to put on the front page: the Royal Family, Princess Diana, statins and things about immigration.

But there's one topic in particular that it really pushes the boat out for: the weather...

Former Channel 4 journalist Tom Whitwell has called out the paper for printing virtually the same story about the 'coldest winter on record' for the last five years.

Whitwell posted examples of the near identical stories, often by weather writer Nathan Rao, to Twitter.

And then he found more examples:

Rao is a journalist and the former consumer affairs editor at paper.

All of these freezing cold winters, the coldest in many of our lifetimes, seems to have slipped by unnoticed by everyone else in the country

Let's check.

2012

Picture:(Daily Express/ClipShare)

The Express wrote:

Temperatures will fall as low as minus 20C in rural areas, forecasters warned last night, while heavy snow and 'potentially dangerous' blizzards will close roads and cripple rail networks.

In fact the mean Central England Temperature (CET) for the winter months of December, January, February, and March, was 4.8 degree celsius. The lowest recorded CET was a 0.5 celsius average temperature for February 2013.

2013

Picture:(Daily Express Online)

The Express said:

Arctic air will roar in from the North Pole later this week, triggering the start of the worst winter in many people's lifetimes... Experts in long-range weather forecasting said the WHOLE of Britain should be prepared for this winter to be the most severe since 1947, which saw the UK hit by relentless snow and some of the lowest temperatures on record.

The mean CET for the winter months in 2013 was 6.5, compared to the 5.9 degree average in Rao's comparison year, 1947. Rao did explain the heavy snow drifts and freezing temperatures of 1947, but his prediction did not hold true.

2014

Picture:(Daily Express Online)

Heavy and persistent snow, freezing gales and sub-zero temperatures threaten to grind the country to a standstill for up to FIVE MONTHS, horrified long-range weather forecasters have warned.

Oh yeah. We all remember the 'five month standstill' that came about then.

2015

Picture:(Daily Express Online)

The shock warnings have also sparked fears Britain could face fuel and food shortages as roads and transport networks grind to a halt.

These 'shock warnings' which have 'sparked fears' seem to exist in the Express article and not many other places.

The mean CET for winter was actually 6.7 degrees, one of the warmest for years.

Winters in the UK have not been getting colder for the last five years.

In fact, the coldest winter on record remains 1962-3, known at the time as 'the big freeze of '63'.

Rivers froze, there was two feet of snow in London, and temperatures remained close to zero or below until March.

Before that it was 1895, and before that, according to the CET record which goes back to 1659, the coldest was 1683-84.

None of these have been bested by any of the Express's predictions.

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By looking at the monthly temperature data available from the Met Office for December-March in each year, and by calculating a mean 'Winter' temperature, it becomes evident that Rao's 'coldest winter' malarky has not come to pass.

Which hasn't stopped him predicting it this year.

Maybe he's Cassandra, and we're all the fools who come January will be wearing mittens indoors.

Perhaps.

When contacted by indy100, Rao said:

My stance on commenting on Tweets and discussions on social networks is not to. So it’s a no comment.

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