Looking forward to Summer profits

From a forecasting standpoint Summer is still well outside the reliability timeframe, but one thing remains as certain as night following day and that is the weather will again have a significant impact on the P&L of a great many businesses up and down the land.

As across every season there will be weather winners and weather losers, but summer is the time in which fine, warm and sunny conditions mean the former can significantly outweigh the latter - indeed given the perfect meteorological scenario, relative fortunes can be made.

There are of course some businesses for which dull, cool and wet summer weather keep the tills ringing like crazy, cinema’s, bowling alleys, shopping malls and indoor tourist attractions to name a few, but in reality summer is all about being outdoors and enjoying the freedom good weather affords.

So when the sun shines and the mercury rises, we also see an all important change of mood too, which is pivotal in determining purchasing habits and patterns, both long term and short term.

One thing we always heavily emphasis to our Weather Sense clients, is never underestimate the power of the sun. Now we not talking about it’s ability to burn here, we’re talking about it’s ability to make your product take on a whole new look and character - to suddenly become desirable, even essential.

Sunshine brings with it a feel good factor and for parts of the country that see less sunshine than others on average, that feel good factor is exaggerated, often by quite a degree. So not only do we see certain summer sensitive products selling better in sunny weather than they do when it’s cloudy, we also see them selling better in Scotland than they do in England.

Much can be said about temperature, but as ever there are subtle differences and anomalies that get throw up from time to time. For instance there is a clear link between above average monthly mean daytime temperatures and increased demand of a huge range of goods, but the graph does not show a smooth upward curve as the mercury rises - nor does it show that the skies the limit. Almost all products have a meteorological sales/demand ‘sweet band’ and yes that band width does vary widely, but even ice cream and cold drinks sales can hit the buffers at times when it’s too hot.

Summer may still be some distance away, but now is the right time to be thinking and planning for it…Weather Sense, Making Sense.

http://www.britishweatherservices.uk/info-page/weather-sense.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freezing weather costs UK economy £1 billion a day – Really?

This is the Headline from The Guardian on Saturday…we say it’s probably half way there. The following paragraph from within the piece really does bring home the enormity of what the weather did to UK PLC last week.

‘Economists said GDP growth, which indicates how much national income has expanded, could fall by up to 0.2% in the first quarter of the year, halving the expected 0.4% growth rate.’

Now we all know just how inaccurate economic forecaster often are, but assuming they are even close to being right this time, then some extremely serious questions need to be asked.  For instance how (given the weather forecasts) were we so woefully underprepared as a nation and just why do businesses up and down this land continue to bury their heads in the sand regarding weather impact.

In the months to come we will again see a raft of major companies releasing their latest financial results, which will no doubt include excuse after excuse about how the Beast From The East seriously impacted their profits.  However, when you ask any of these habitual whingers and whiners exactly what they did to prepare for it’s impact, or how they went about mitigating it’s effects, they will look at you like you have two heads.

‘Well it’s the weather, what are we supposed to do about it. we can’t stop the weather can we?’…or more pathetic drivel to that effect. And these kind of comments are not coming from the office junior of the cleaner, they are coming from MD’s, CEO’s and COO’s of major PLC’s, most of whom are so dull when it comes to weather impact it frankly beggars belief.

For goodness sake wake up! You are responsible for making your companies and businesses profitable, you have a responsibility to your shareholders and your staff. Across the coming weeks people will lose their jobs as a direct result of losses stemming from last weeks weather, that is as certain as night following day, but what’s equally certain is it’s won’t be the clueless dinosaurs at the top who are hitting the dole queue.

Hopefully we can now put winter behind us and look forward to summer…the season of greatest weather sensitivity of all for UK PLC. Frankly a cool, wet one could well spell disaster for some who managed to survive the Beast, but equally a warm, dry one could be exactly what’s required to swell the coffers again. However whichever way you view it, being on top of your weather risk and understanding you weather sensitivity/vulnerability is absolutely vital, if you are going to make the best of what is on offer.

Events across the last week or so have brought weather impact into sharper focus than ever before – yes they were pretty exceptional, but climate change means what is currently considered thus may well become the norm in the not too distant future, therefore the time really has come to stop whinging and start winning!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wintry chaos to worsen – but thaw on the horizon!

With the gradual erosion from the bitterly cold air now being handled reasonably well by the models, all eyes turn to the likely implications of the breakdown.

Tomorrow will see the first attack from the south with snow/blizzards arriving in the far SW of England, but this snow should gradually turn to sleet then rain/freezing rain here overnight into Fri. For the rest of SW England and S Wales, Fri morning promises a spell of snow and/or freezing rain, some of which will be heavy and likely to cause significant disruption, with the risk then extending north and east up to southern parts of N England during the afternoon, evening and overnight period.

By Sat the snow should be confined to an area extending from the Midlands to S Scotland, with rain or sleet expected farther south, but even by this time some snow is still likely in places – especially on higher ground.

Sun should see snow becoming restricted to Scotland and the far north of England, with temperatures possibly rising to double figures across the far southwest by this time, but those thinking this is the start of spring however could well be very disappointed…

Winter incoming…just as meteorological winter ends!!

The effects of the SSW (Sudden Stratospheric Warming) that occurred high above the N Pole last weekend are now starting to feed into the model outputs, but given the intensity of the warming and the potential effects of a secondary one, precise details for our little island in the Atlantic remain elusive.

However Europe is set to go into the freezer this weekend and at least according to the latest GFS model runs the UK will follow suit by Monday, with some substantial snow in the offing for many during midweek. If this evolution does come to pass, then it may well prove to be a case of short term gain and long term pain, with milder, wet conditions possibly moving up from France later next week.

The ECM model on the other hand is rather more bullish about steering the very coldest air south into France, then later Iberia, with less cold conditions running down across the UK around the periphery of a High between Scotland and Iceland later next week. If this evolution does come to pass some snow is still likely at times, especially across eastern parts of England, but nowhere near to the extent being suggested by GFS.

However, here’s the rub - The ECM evolution might be less cold in the mid term, but as the high regresses towards Greenland it does herald much better prospects for prolonging the cold spell than GFS does - so whichever way you slice it, meteorological Spring will be very much on hold when it officially arrives on Mar 1st.

A taste of Winter…

Increasingly cold air has been flooding south across the UK during the last 24hrs, turning many of the showers to snow from the Midlands northwards, with some significant falls already being reported across Scotland, N Ireland and N England in particular. These showers look set to persist this evening and overnight, giving further heavy falls in places and leading to some travel disruption, especially but not exclusively on higher ground. Ice will also be a feature away from exposed western coasts, particularly where late showers have fallen and/or snow is lying.

After what is likely to be very tricky commute for many, any snow showers should die out during the course of Wednesday morning, with rain arriving in the far west during the late afternoon. As this rain moves into Scotland and perhaps parts of N England it will turn to snow, but elsewhere a wet/very windy, even stormy evening and night is in prospect, with gale or severe gales gusts developing quite widely.

This rain/snow should in turn quickly clear on Thursday morning, with colder air and wintry showers returning from the northwest to close out the working week for all.

30 years in this trade…but not everything has changed!

So since our inception way back in 1987 what’s changed in this trade?

Well the short answer pretty much reflects life in general I guess and that is a massive. massive amount, with the rise of the internet bringing weather to the masses on a truly global scale. Back in the 80′s we needed to print our own weather charts and the only satellite dish we possessed was used to beam us satellite pictures, not hundreds of TV channels from here, there and everywhere.

Most of the forecasts we produced we’re typed, printed out and then faxed to recipients, many of whom were local radio stations, farmers, growers, construction firms and retailers, who had very few options to choose from when it came to accessing weather forecast information.

Also very big back in the day were telephone forecasts, in fact we pretty much pioneered the private sector weather lines, which saw us produce a 3 minute written forecast for 10 separate regions of the UK 3 times per day. These forecasts where then recorded by professional readers, giving the public access to information that was at most 8 hours old.

Despite the recorded lines proving very successful we never sat on our laurels and approximately 15 years ago we took things to the next level, by introducing Live Line – which as it’s name implies, allowed callers to actually talk directly to a forecaster, rather than simply listening to a pre pre-recorded script. By this stage of the early noughties things had moved on, the internet was providing us much more in the way of real time information such as rainfall radar, as well as increasing access to different computer forecast models from around the globe.

Since that time change has accelerated even more, in fact the job today is pretty much unrecognisable from the one only a decade or so ago, but I’m pleased to say in amongst all the upheaval one thing has stood the test of time quite superbly… and that is Live Line. The truth is despite to plethora of weather information currently available out there to every man and his dog, there is clearly something deeply comforting to many about picking up the phone, dialling the number and talking to a forecaster…it’s the pipe and slippers of our operation.

Perhaps it’s the fact callers are able to literally ask for a forecast for their own back garden, or maybe finding comfort in discovering the scare mongering gibberish spouted by elements of the gutter press is just that – to be honest I really don’t know what it is and I really don’t care. What I do know is Live Line is more popular now than it was a decade ago, indeed it’s popularity still continues to increase year or year, so for once this deeply innovative firm is adopting the mantra of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…..and this now late teenager is about as far from broken as it’s possible to be.

Give Live Line a try, our forecasters would love to hear from you.

http://www.britishweatherservices.uk/info-page/live-telephone-weather.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meteorological Consultancy….can it really make a difference to my business?

Ask an insurer, loss adjuster, large construction company or major high street fashion retailer (to name just a few)  what is one of their most significant impactors on their business and without question most, if not all would say the weather. Ask the bosses of those firms however just how many meteorologists they employ full time, either directly or on a consultative basis and the answer will probably be either none, or very few.

Looking at things logically this sounds pretty ridiculous.  These firms clearly recognise the significant importance weather has on their overall P&L, yet for whatever reason they choose to either crash on in the dark, or take the cheap and cheerful option of automated forecast data freely available 24/7 on the web. It’s a bit like Real Madrid saying we don’t need all these so called superstars, we know loads of people who can play football and they’ll do it for free, so despite the fact our club will live and die by this decision….just think of the money we’ll save!

Of course in the world of Real Madrid just paying these superstars costs them a significant amount of their turnover, but in the case of a large, highly weather sensitive company the cost of engaging professional meteorological consultants, would start at around the same per annum as an employee on minimum wage.

So given weather is vital to their business and engaging professional weather consultants is extremely cost effective, why oh why are so many firms up and down this land so reluctant to take what looks like an obvious no brainer decision? Well we’ve perhaps already identified one major reason in the free to air forecasts on the net, but as anyone who has studied these in even the most basic way will confirm, their frequent updating can be extremely confusing, their content very light and their resultant usefulness very limited.

Looking at things with my cynical head on, it would be easy to assume the thinking might be if we employ meteorologists, how can we blame weather for our poor trading performance? Ummm, probably not the case to be honest - however when you look at the amount of times we see firms blaming the weather for a dip in annual profits, then these very same firms either confirm they take no forecast information, or worst still (as in many cases) just simply ignore the question asked… well, it really does make you wonder.

We only need to look 3000 miles west to see a very different picture, with many more US companies fully onboard the weather impact bus. OK the weather there is far more extreme, but it’s all relative and it certainly doesn’t mean our lack of tornadoes, hurricanes and frequent major blizzards makes us bullet proof against unwanted weather.

Meteorological consultant can and often are worth their weight in gold to a weather sensitive company, that much should be pretty obvious….my advice is take the leap of faith and at least listen to what they have to say, you will be very glad you did.

 

White Xmas 2017?

Before we talk about the odds of a White Xmas in the UK we really do need to qualify the criteria involved, because to many it would mean a nice cover of snow on the ground on Dec 25th, irrespective of whether snow falls or not.  However that isn’t the way bookmakers classify a White Xmas as far as their betting market are concerned, quite the opposite in fact…indeed the last time snow covered much of the country on the big day in 2010 most places were dry, so despite being plenty white enough, I’m afraid many punters would again have parted with their hard earned.

So how do the bookies classify a white Xmas? Well without quoting any of their specific jargon, the Yes/No market is settled a winner if snow is reported to fall at one of their named weather stations across the UK at an time in the 24hrs between midnight on the 25th and midnight on the 26th Dec. The snow can actually be mixed with rain (sleet) or fall as snow grains or snow pellets and still qualify as a White Xmas, so on the face of it the chances of this look much better than measurable snow lying on the ground.

So what are the odds of a White Xmas 2017? Well as things stand the truth is no one knows for sure. There are weather models that already offer charts for the Xmas period, but in reality they are pretty much useless at this kind of range, meaning all we currently have to go on are statistics. Now if the question was will snow fall somewhere in the UK on December 25th we could statistically put that chance around 65-70%, i.e very high, but remember as far as the bookies are concerned the snow has to fall at one of their named locations, many of which are low lying and/or coastal.

As we all know, in general the weather gets colder the farther north one travels in the UK, so on that basis it would clearly come as no surprise each year to see the bookies have the lowest odds of snow across their name cities in Scotland and their highest odds for cities in the south of England. Statistically the chances of a bookie defined White Xmas in the north is somewhere in the range 25-35%, that decreases to around 15-25% for central areas and then further decreases to as low as 8-15% for those in the southern third of the UK.

As previously stated. it’s far to early to say whether those odds look too high, too low or just about right for 2017 - however if you believe all the hype dished out recently by the normal suspects regarding the alleged incoming snowmaggddon, then you’d now be taking your cash down to the bookies in a biscuit tin, fully expecting to pick it up in a skip on Boxing Day…my advice is don’t, at least not until things become a good deal clearer and that won’t be until mid December at the earliest.

Watch this space!

 

Coldest Winter since the Great Freeze….apparantly!!

It’s not like the Express says pretty much the same thing every year is it?…but of course if you throw enough darts, one will eventually hit the bull….of should that be bulls**t!

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100 DAYS OF HEAVY SNOW: Britain now facing worst winter in SIXTY YEARS warn forecasters

LONG-RANGE weather forecasters have warned that Britain should prepare for heavy and persistent snow for up to THREE MONTHS with winter 2013 set to be the worst in more than 60 years.

By Nathan Rao

PUBLISHED: 00:10, Sun, Nov 17, 2013

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Winter 2014 set to be ‘coldest for century’ Britain faces ARCTIC FREEZE in just weeks

WINTER 2014 is on track to be the coldest for more than a CENTURY with Britain just weeks away from a crippling ARCTIC FREEZE.

By Nathan Rao

PUBLISHED: 13:08, Fri, Oct 10, 2014

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Coldest winter for 50 YEARS set to bring MONTHS of heavy snow to UK

BRITAIN is facing the most savage winter in more than 50 years with months of heavy snowfall and bitter Arctic winds set to bring the country to a total standstill.

By Nathan Rao PUBLISHED: 03:10, Thu, Sep 17, 2015

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FREEZING BRITAIN: Bitter polar air to bring COLDEST winter for more than FIVE YEARS

BRITAIN is about to freeze in the coldest winter for more than five years with unusually low temperatures forecast until February.

By Nathan Rao PUBLISHED: 00:00, Tue, Nov 22, 2016 | UPDATED: 18:36, Tue, Nov 22, 2016

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UK faces MONTHS of SNOW: Sinking polar vortex to trigger COLDEST winter since GREAT FREEZE

BRITAIN is weeks away from the first major winter whiteout with 2017 shaping up to be the “year of the snowstorm”.

By Nathan Rao PUBLISHED: 07:17, Mon, Oct 23, 2017 | UPDATED: 09:07, Mon, Oct 23, 2017

 

Life of (storm) Brian

As I type the naughty boy is still sat just NW of the Azores, with a central pressure of around 995mb, but in just 24hrs time he’ll have deepened to around 960mb and headed to within 500 miles of SW Ireland.

The first of the rain looks set to arrive across SW England tomorrow afternoon, with a broad band then sweeping east across all parts of country during the evening and night, finally clearing the east coast around dawn on Saturday. Some of the rain associated with Brian is expected to be heavy, particularly across western parts of the country, but the fact it will be rather fast moving means any flooding issues should be relatively small.

The wind however looks set to be rather more of a feature, especially but not exclusively across Southwest England and S Wales, where gusts of 40-60mph can be expected widely and 50-70mph locally on Saturday morning. The windiest conditions of all look likely on hills and coasts exposed to the SW, with high tides possibly combining to give some coastal inundation in places.

Later on Saturday and into Sunday the wind will tend more towards west and eventually the northwest, with the worst of the weather transferring to northern and especially northwestern parts of the UK, but by this time max gusts should be more in the 30-50mph range away from exposed hills and coasts.

So yes Brian looks set to be more of a naughty boy than a messiah, but at this stage he isn’t expected to provide any weather of biblical proportions.