I’m Jo Wickremasinghe and I’m head of product for BBC Weather and Travel News.

Like many of you I was grappling with ‘snow week’ last week, constantly checking travel and weather updates to see whether my commute – and my carefully laid weekend plans – would be disrupted.

With several weather warnings in force from Thursday 17 January it was a very busy time for the BBC Weather online team as we experienced record-breaking traffic to the site.

BBC Weather forecast page for Cardiff on Friday 18 January showing heavy snow fall


Last week we saw our highest weekly traffic to http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/ in the past few years and certainly since our re-launch in November 2011.

We received just over 20 million unique browsers last week compared to a weekly average of around 7.5 million in 2012.

We’re happy with how the site performed under the extra strain and we want to make sure it performs as you expect so do let us know if you have any feedback or suggestions in the comments.

Adverse weather and snow often drives traffic to our site as people look to find out how they’ll be affected and what their journeys will be like.

Previously our highest week of traffic was in late November 2010 which was the last time the UK was heavily snowed under. On that week the site was visited by nearly 14 million unique browsers.

That makes our new 2013 peak around a 47% increase in traffic compared to the previous peak.

We know some of the regular Internet Blog readers like to chew through some stats so here are a few of the more interesting trends we’ve spotted:

  • Gearing up for the weekend: The peak days were Thursday 17 January (when the site was visited by over 7.3 million UK unique browsers) and Friday 18 January (when the site was visited by over 6.8 million UK unique browsers).
  • Checking on the commute: The peaks in traffic were on the afternoon of Thursday 17 (3pm – 6pm) and the morning of Friday 18 (7am to 2pm). At those times the BBC Weather site was visited by more than 700,000 unique browsers every hour (around five times the level of traffic we’d see in a typical hour of a typical day).
  • Mobile and multiple devices: In a typical week just under a quarter of our unique browsers are mobiles or tablets. Last week this figure was nearer a third as people used multiple devices to keep track of the forecast.

The growth in mobile and tablet usage of BBC Weather online is something we’ve been tracking for a while and we are working on improving the experience for the range of devices people now use to access BBC Weather.

I hope that was an interesting behind-the scenes-insight into how last week’s weather impacted the site.

For some parts of the country the weather forecast next week looks a lot better, and we may even see the return of some sunshine this weekend.

But for others the snow continues to fall and there may be localised flooding. So be prepared and stay ahead of the weather by visiting http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/ to get the latest weather forecast for a location near you.

Jo Wickremasinghe is the head of product for BBC Weather and Travel News.

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  • Comment number 3. Posted by Marc

    on 29 Jan 2013 22:08

    Is there a BBC Weather mobile App in the pipeline? This would be very useful indeed.

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  • Comment number 2. Posted by Jo Wickremasinghe

    on 28 Jan 2013 15:55

    Thanks for your comments.

    Average Conditions charts appear on the forecast pages below the weather maps, and only for locations where we have this data. We do not have average conditions available for every location, only for capital cities. You can see the average conditions for example on the London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast forecast pages.

    Nice idea about the homepage content on forecast pages, but there is a lot of content on the homepage that would make the forecast pages (already very busy) quite cluttered. But we could do a better job of promoting the features and analysis stories on the forecast pages and we'll keep that in mind for future development.

    With regards to mobile & tablet - we're actually working on some of the ideas you mentioned. And in the short term we are trying to resolve video not playing on devices that don't support flash as we know a lot of our audience have this issue.

  • Comment number 1. Posted by lettice

    on 26 Jan 2013 18:20

    I certainly saw in the Amateur world of weather, many of the forums very busy at this time.
    The BBC certainly updated every hour very well with all the Met office and the many official charts we were following during the magical snow period here in the South.

    A few things on the site, in the FAQ, it shows an an 'Average Conditions' chart in the lower area of the forecast screen. I have never seen this.
    It would be nice to add more of the homepage content onto the forecast screen, I very rarely go to the weather homepage and miss the analysis and features which I think most users would.
    The BBC homepage and most bookmarks would push the user to their local forecat page and not the weather homepage.
    Also, is there anyway you can get the local tv station forecast play on a tablet (non flash).
    Looking at the tablet way, I think the current webpage format works well on a tablet, but for the mobile phone, the mobile page is very basic at the moment. It would be nice to have the weather integrated within the BBC News app, a small menu like on the BBC sport app would make it non intrusive. Ive never really understood why the weather is missing from that app, for me News and Weather go together. Look forward to how that progresses.

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