Met Office three-month forecast told councils to expect a 'drier than usual' winter

Report released to councils and contingency planners came ahead of the wettest winter on record

The Met Office told councils and the Environment Agency to expect a “drier than usual” winter in a three-month forecast – especially in the West Country, it has been reported.

The predictions were followed by the wettest winter since records began in 1910, causing severe flooding across the south of England.

Between 1 December and 19 February, 486.8mm (19.2 inches) of rain fell, beating the previous record of 485.1mm, set in 1995.

A three month forecast, which the Met Office describe as "experimental" was given to councils, the Environment Agency and contingency planners at the end of November to tell them what to expect from December to February.

The forecasters used “cutting edge science” to assure councils “ there would be a ‘significant reduction in precipitation compared to average” for most of the country, according to The Daily Mail.

It also allegedly said there was only a 15 per cent chance the winter weather would fall into the ‘wettest category’, the newspaper has reported.

These three month forecasts are no longer made available to the public and are instead supplied to the councils, government departments, and insurance companies.

The Met Office said their short and medium-term forecasts are the ones relied on by emergency responders in cases of severe weather.

"The Met Office’s five-day forecasts and severe weather warnings have provided excellent guidance throughout this period of exceptionally stormy and wet weather", the weather service said.

"Our three-month outlooks are experimental. The outlook assesses the level of risk connected to five different scenarios for both temperature and rain/snowfall for the UK as a whole; they do not mention specific areas such as the Somerset Levels.

"It’s a bit like the science-equivalent of factoring the odds on a horse race.

"However, as with any horse race, it’s always possible that the favourite won’t win – so these probability scenarios have to be used in the right context. This is why they’re useful for contingency planners who plan ahead based on risk, but not that useful for the general public."

Two severe flood warnings remain in place in the Somerset Levels, which was one of the areas worst affected by two months of flooding.

Insurers have paid out about £14m in emergency payments since 23 December, with individual households receiving between £500 and £3,000, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said.

A further £24m has been spent on hotels, bed-and-breakfasts and rented homes, it added, with the average cost per the thousands of household hit by flooding expected to come in at about £16,500. The cost to insurers is expected to reach more than £1billon.


Watch David Miliband state the need for faster flood insurance payouts

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there