Wet Weather Warnings - Met Office to the Rescue

Wet Weather Warnings - Met Office to the Rescue

26th March 2015

We all know that the UK weather often performs with no rhyme or reason – weather reports are often dramatically wrong and the weather can change at the drop of a hat.  Summers are not always hot and dry (despite the cracking summer we had last year) and winters are not always cold and snowy.  Most of us carry an umbrella or a pac-a-mac all year round for fear of being caught in an unseasonable downpour and we’re all used to the fact that planning a summer barbecue is often an invitation for torrential rain.  We’re used to it here in the UK and most people planning outdoor events in the summer months will have a backup plan up their sleeve just in case. 

Weather has a major impact on those of us working in the construction industry, especially those who work out of doors on building and maintenance projects.  Working in the rain is unpleasant at best and downright dangerous at times.  While there’s nothing we can do to improve the weather, improving weather forecasts could make a big difference.  And that’s just what the Met Office is aiming to do with the launch of a bespoke weather report service aimed specifically at the construction industry. 

Location Based Reports will provide bespoke weather reports accurately reflecting onsite conditions in order to give contractors accurate weather information that will enable them to identify any potential downtime on projects and develop contingency plans.  This will also allow contractors to negotiate more realistic contracts in future.

These Location Based Reports are available in two different formats:  Location based monthly planning averages and Location based monthly downtime summaries.  The new reports should provide a more accurate representation of actual construction site conditions so that contractors can view weather reports that are specific to the location of their site, rather than relying on a report from the nearest weather station.  They will offer information on up to 16 different types of weather element, including:

  • Daily Rainfall Totals
  • Maximum Wind Gusts
  • Minimum Air Temperature
  • Mean Wind Speed
  • Humidity
  • Days with Air Frost
  • Snow Depth

Eleven of the sixteen weather elements have Long Term Averages and 1-in10 years Values meaning that reports can be used across a range of construction contracts.  This will help construction project managers to accurately identify compensation events and inform the tender process.  They will also help contractors to prepare for weather related risks.

The reports use weather information from more than 3,600 locations in the UK, as opposed to previous reports which only use the information from 100 weather stations.  The Met Office has combined Long Term Average Values from an historic gridded database with a database of current observations and used it to generate supercomputer forecasting models for increased accuracy.  This new system has been tested over the past year to verify its accuracy rates and the Met Office is confident that this will offer the construction industry the most accurate and up to date information available at any time.

To find out more about the new Location Based Reports, check out the Met Office page for Building and Construction here.