As America continues to count the cost of Hurricanes Ike and Katrina, British meteorologists have unveiled a plan to make the UK’s rather temperate weather more dramatic and eye-catching with names such as ‘Light Breeze Jennifer’ or ‘Drizzle Simon’.
‘Why should only devastating hurricanes be given their own special names?’ said Weatherman John Kettley. ‘Why can’t we predict that Britain might be hit by ‘Mild Frost Kevin’ or ‘Chance of Showers Amanda?’ The announcement is one of a number of ideas attempting to improve the ratings of the TV weather forecasters who have been told by broadcasters to improve or face the axe. ‘The weather forecast is stuck in a rut’ said head of ITV Peter Fincham. ‘It’s basically been going on and on about the same basic climate for decades and today’s viewers expect something a bit more new and exciting.’
The ratings pressure is leading less responsible weather forecasters to lie about impending floods, droughts and tornadoes. After the national weather forecast predicted a mild weekend with a chance of showers in the afternoon, East Anglia’s local weather told a completely different story; ‘Thousands will die as giant hailstones pummel Kings Lynn’ said cheery newcomer Amanda Harris, ‘And if we look at the weather for Sunday – more crops will fail and cattle will die of thirst as Norfolk turns to desert after it’s third year of drought.’
Another idea is to inject some dramatic conflict into the short programme. A pilot edition of ‘Weather Debate’ broadcast on Friday showed fierce disagreement between John Kettley and Suzanne Charlton about the chance of sunny spells developing later. ‘Don’t listen to Kettley, he knows fuck all about meteorology’ Charlton told viewers. ‘Shut it, bitch!’ shouted back Kettley. ‘You only got the job cos you’ve got a famous dad…’ Charlton then punched Kettley in the face, but he continued to predict a mild weekend as blood ran from his nose and Charlton sobbed behind him. The BBC say that early ratings look promising.
5th October 2008