Sunday, 4 July 2010

What's The Weather Forecast? Nature Knows

Rob McElwee, the BBC's most experienced weather forecaster is entertaining. He's entertaining in his knowledge. He's entertaining in his presentation and little jokes. He's entertaining in the wildly variable and accurate predictions he makes.

I suggest you ask a bus driver about the weather. It might not be so entertaining, but some of the time it is more accurate. We are on the spot. We can see the black clouds rolling in across the distant hills from our raised drivers' seats.

Many of my passengers are retired farmers who have learnt the tell tale signs of changing weather patterns. I knew that we were in for a bad winter last October when one of the ladies remarked:

"Them thar sheep are awfy low on the fell. That's a bad sign." That was an understatement. The snow was so bad that my local village had 82 consecutive days' skiing.

I knew it was going to be a heatwave. The sheep began to look listless. They huddled together and stopped their mass breakouts across the walls and fences to taste the roadside grass and to lick the residues of the winter salt on the white lines.

It's 5am. I'm on my way to the seaside. A mother grouse and her covey of five chicks rush across the road directly in front of me. I stop. The mother grouse shows her bravery by turning towards me and trying to attack the bus, until her brood have safely disappeared into the bracken on the other side. then she flies off.

The sheep are looking more animated. I think the weather is breaking.

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