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Weather Conditions (Warnings)

Volume 960: debated on Friday 15 December 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many warnings of exceptional weather conditions were issued by the Meteorological Office during the period from Christmas day onwards, how many flash or special warnings were issued to the broadcasting organisations and other media to warn of the onset of extreme weather conditions ; what special warnings were issued to county councils during this period to draw their attention to the onset of exceptional weather conditions ; and if he is satisfied with the level and detail of advice given by the Meteorological Office during this period.

Warnings of heavy rain, snow, ice, freezing rain, gale or fog were contained in very many of the routine weather forecasts and bulletins issued by the Meteorological Office during the period 25th December 1978 to 6th January 1979 inclusive. In addition, during this period a total of 117 flash and special warnings were prepared for issue by broadcasting organisations. These related to periods of heavy rain, especially in the north, including Yorkshire and Humberside, during 25th to 29th December, to snow and icy roads during 27th December to 6th January, to freezing rain on 6th January, and at various times during the period to fog or strong windsBetween 25th December and 6th January, a total of 667 road danger warnings were issued to county councils or other responsible road authorities in Great Britain. These warned of icy roads or snow, or both. There were between 63 and 76 each day from 29th December to 5th January inclusive.I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to him on 24th January 1978 [Vol. 942, c.

582]—describing the arrangements by which the public are notified by the Meteorological Office of the onset of hazardous weather conditions. I am satisfied that under these arrangements the Meteorological Office gave timely warning of the principal weather hazards experienced in this country during the period from Christmas Day onwards.