I've never seen the point of long term weather forecasts in Britain. Why predict the weather when the weather hasn't decided what it's going to do?
So I should have known better when I got excited about the Met Office's prediction that Britain would enjoy a 'barbecue summer' in 2009. True, the end of June was hot and dry. But July has been a sunshine-and-shower fest, with August likely to follow the same pattern.
The weather men have, predictably, been making their excuses. "We only ever said there was a 65% chance of a hot summer. Wimbledon enjoyed a heatwave. We might still see a good end to the summer."
That's not the point. They have no idea if one summer will be any better than the washout that preceded it. The most expensive computer may marginally improve forecasts based on probability - but it can't tell you if we're going to have a summer to rival August 1976.
And another thing. Why do British forecasters spend so much time telling us about what the weather was like earlier? Why do they use such verbose language ("during the course of the latter part of the afternoon")?