The sun comes out for the 150th anniversary of the weather forecast

Monday 01st Aug 2011 by theWeather Club

Crown Copyright Met Office

 

It might be stating the sun-blindingly obvious – but summertime has arrived once more to Britain on a day of great celebration for the Met Office. Today, temperatures are set to push 30 degrees, after a wave of heat that swept most parts of the country this weekend and caused many families to flee to the beaches.

While it may feel long overdue after a fairly grim July, this particular warm air mass has had pretty good timing. Not only is it the start of the school holidays (and many staycations) but today is also the 150th anniversary of the very first published weather forecast.

 Put together by Robert FitzRoy, a captain in the Royal Navy, the report that first appeared in the Times newspaper in 1861 opened rather hesitantly with the words "general weather probable in the next two days". Back then its premise was to protect life and property, after a storm in 1859 cost hundreds of lives.

Fitzroy believed that by predicting this kind of event in advance, people would have the necessary time to prepare. The same is true 150 years later. Today, however, it seems the only preparation the weather forecast will prompt is to wear suncream and get outside – before the thunderstorms expected later in the week start to strike.