You weather presenters are always getting the forecasts wrong aren't
Actually, for the next day, our predictions are 85-90% accurate.
When it comes to looking more than three days ahead, it tends to
be a little more difficult but all our information comes from the
Met Office in Exeter - one of the most respected meteorological
services in the world.
Meteorology is an inexact science. We're never going to get it 100%
right - just ask Michael Fish about the Great Storm of 1987! And
of course there can be very different conditions within a few miles
- especially between coastal and inland areas. Where we are are
located, between a vast expanse of ocean, and a huge land mass,
means we are particularly prone to changeable weather.
with Sally Taylor in the South Today studio
do you become a weather presenter?
The majority of BBC national and regional weather presenters have
come from a meteorological scientific background. Once they finish
their degree, they train with the Met Office to become a forecaster.
Those who are particularly good communicators and can translate
the science into everyday language for for TV viewers, get to work
for broadcasters like the BBC.
You can find out about Met Office recruitment on their website.
There are a few like me who aren't from a scientific background.
I came in as a presenter via BBC
Talent. I'd previously worked as a performer on a cruise
ship and as an actress on TV commercials. After volunteer work for
Southampton's Hospital Radio, I sent a tape in to BBC Radio Solent
and a year later, after training at the Met Office, I was on South
in the South Today studio
the best thing about your job?
With the weather, every day is a different story and it can
be life changing and life threatening when it becomes a news story
in itself. So it's a challenge to get the information across to
people in a short time. And its a real buzz doing live TV and Sally
and the rest of the South Today team are great to work with. I also
get to do lots of other fun things, like presenting the BBCi
Southampton Big Screen film festival launch.
global warming really happening?
It's such a hot topic at the moment - all the more so after
the summer we've had in 2003. The earth's climate is always changing,
but there is widely thought to be evidence of some alteration in
the climate caused by human activity and the release of greenhouse
gases. For a look at the full story, check out the BBC
Weather Centre Climate Change website.
How do you work out what the weather's going to be like?
All our forecast charts and briefings come directly from the Met
Office. They have their computer models, satellites, radars, weather
balloons and sensors constantly picking up data about what's going
on in the atmosphere and they draw their conclusions about what
the weather is going to be like.
I'll get sent a briefing along with the synoptic charts (with all
the pressure, wind and rain information). I'll also have a chat
to a forecaster in London. I've got my 'Mist' computer which has
all the information about what's currently going on in the region
and further afield (and have a quick check out the window!) before
going on radio and TV and telling everyone about it.
Is your TV spot scripted?
It is in my head, but I don't have an auto-cue. All I have is the
map with the weather graphics behind me so I have to be very concise
with the story before I go on air. Because the programme is live,
the time I've got can vary and I only know a minute or so before
I start, how long I've actually got to talk for. Occasionally it
even changes while I'm in the middle of the forecast so I have to
literally think on my feet!
the radio broadcasts
you only work for about a minute each day?!
If only! As well as putting the TV forecast together for South Today's
lunchtime and evening broadcasts, I also have to do hourly bulletins
for both BBC Radio Solent and Southern Counties Radio. So especially
on a busy day when there's a lot of flooding or maybe record temperatures,
I'm flat out keeping everyone up to date.
What's your most embarrassing thing that's happened to you?
Well it's live TV so every now and again, things do do wrong. I
tripped and knocked something off the desk one time and another
time I picked up the wrong buttons which change the graphics, which
left me it a bit of a pickle! Whatever happens - you've just got
to keep going!
What do you do when you're not doing the weather?
I've got a four year old boy so I don't get much spare time! I teach
jazz and modern dancing on a Saturday morning and I'm currently
having piano lessons.
Alina's Weather Quiz