It is a strange thing but, no matter how hard you try to listen to a weather forecast, after the first few sentences it goes all weirlyooo wooobly bltht perdanggeole into a sort of verbal mush and by the time you re-focus your attention, they've moved on to: “And finally in south-west Shetland . . .”
So you may have been thinking, a few days ago, that the Met Office had surely warned us all about the gathering Arctic snap but you'd somehow missed it in the verbal mush. That's what I thought. But it turns out the forecasters really did miss it, or at least “dramatically underestimated” the coldness and duration of the approaching weather.
Ironically, on December 13 as the cold snap wreaked havoc, the Met Office proudly unveiled the Meteosat Third Generation Imager (MTG-I1), billed as “the first satellite to be launched as part of a wider project to revolutionise and safeguard weather forecasting across Europe for the next 20 years”. So what have they been using until now – seaweed?
Just before the 2007 financial crisis, I dropped a phrase into the office's morning news conference. It was “sub-prime lending”, used to describe mortgages granted to people who had no hope of repaying them. It had been used on a Radio 4 programme. None of us had heard it before but within weeks as markets collapsed, sub-prime lending was on everyone's lips. Today I am proud to offer another term which may be big in 2023. Be the envy of your friends and start dropping The Great Stilling into your conversations.
The Great Stilling is a weather event which stops the wind blowing across vast areas. Average wind speeds have been dropping since the 1960s and some scientists believe this process will spread as a result of global warming. It's a problem, especially if you've just invested billions of pounds building wind farms.
After last week's item on curious job titles, I heard of a construction company whose executive list includes a Living Director.