I’ve notice that the first of the promised changes to the weather warnings from the Met Office have started to appear, in the shape of minor change to their weather warnings website page (fig 1).
It looks like they are still sticking to the freehand drawing of warning areas on the maps, which is a shame because it’s far from the best way of doing things and looks unprofessional. They’ve still not removed the scroll bar from the text panel that describes the warnings, if they expanded the text area to make use of the empty space below, there would be no need for a scroll bar at all. I’ll just have a quick look round at how some other Met Services deal with weather warnings in their countries:
Meteo France don’t have a brilliant website as far as weather warnings is concerned, with a rather crude map of the regions, but at least they’ve embraced a more GIS based interface, so no free hand drawing of the warning area’s here which is to be applauded (fig 2).
I rather like the DWD warnings web page. It’s clear and unambiguous and although in English, which is more than you get from the French, the warning itself is not (fig 3).
Many European nations including the French take full advantage of the EUMETNET’s Meteoalarm system (figs 4 & 5), which the UKMO don’t seem to have warmed to. We may be leaving Europe, but the UKMO are fully paid members of EUMETNET and EUMETSAT as far as I know, and pay a good wack for services such as Meteoalarm and high-resolution rapid scan images that we never see. The interface is rather basic, but it does the job for the whole of Europe, which geographically the UK will always be apart of, even though we be leaving the European Community next year. I think this is a good idea rather than a duplication of warning services.
I don’t know why I’m surprised that MeteoGroup have a finger in the weather warnings game, but I was, and even though the interface is a little bit clunky it’s available across most countries in western Europe. I’m not sure how well it’s used, and how much it conflicts with the warnings from National Met Services, they don’t seem to think that much of today’s yellow warning of heavy rain for southwest England for example (fig 6).