Bill Giles tells forecasters to stop 'nannying' public with weather warnings

Ex-weatherman Bill Giles has branded forecasters "nannies" for issuing too many "off-the-cuff" warnings.

The 77-year-old, who led the BBC weather team for 17 years until he retired in 2000, said excessive alerts including "the dozen or so named winter storms" risked reducing the impact of warnings.

Giles told the Radio Times: "On frosty and snowy nights, does the forecaster really need to tell people to watch out on untreated roads and pavements?

"I think they could safely just mention the ice and expect viewers to use their common sense."

He continued: "Of course, if the forecast is for exceptionally severe weather, which happens about once every five years, then due warnings and possible consequences must be given.

"But to do this with all of the dozen or so named winter storms risks making people immune to the warnings.

"And just because we're now into spring, at least where weather forecasters are concerned, it doesn't mean the warnings will stop.

"We have yet to get the summer thunderstorms and consequent flooding as well as a warning of impending heatwaves.

"So while we must consider the effects of severe weather on the population at large rather than just pure weather information, for weather warnings to be effective our forecasters must beware of behaving like nannies."

Sky News weather producer, Christopher England, said Giles "does have a point".

"It is possible to cry wolf too often, but at the same time there is a need to point out some of the implications of severe weather," he said.

"Such things as the naming of storms are an attempt to provide an authoritative indication that something is beyond the usual range of windy weather.

"As with all such things, it's a matter of trying to achieve a suitable balance between nannying and providing sufficient information to people."

Giles concluded his magazine article with his own forecast for the weeks ahead, predicting mild weather and rain for March, with a chance of damaging frosts into April.

"Which, as a gardener, is the one weather warning I do really want to hear," he added.

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