As the country faces the prospect of the mildest Christmas weather for many years, we should pause and give thanks to the shock horror brigade that is the hackery of Richard “Dirty” Desmond. This small and dubiously talented group has brought us lower energy bills, roads and pavements generally free of snow and ice, and pipes nowhere near bursting entirely by its totally useless punditry.
I wouldn't be so sure about that ...
The assault began on September 20, as Nathan Rao (crazy name, crazy guy?!?) told “Britain Faces An Early Big Freeze”. Three days later, Adrian Lee chipped in with “Are We Set For A Long, Cold Winter?” to which the answer was, not yet: the end of that month saw a brief heatwave with the first day of October bringing a record high.
Undeterred, Rao was back the following week with “-20C To Hit Britain”. This would happen “as early as the start of next month”. Sadly, it was not to be, but Rao was not to be denied, bringing readers “Big Siberian Freeze To Hit Britain” on November 2, this arriving “within the next fortnight” followed by “a bitterly cold December”. It didn’t happen: instead, there were more unusually mild days.
So on November 21, it was Natalie Chalk who stepped in with “Big Chill Heads For Warm UK”. The chill was less than big. Rao returned on December 3 with “Shivering Halt To Mild Days”. He told that “The big freeze of last year is set to make its return”, which also didn’t happen. Two days later, it was Sara Dixon proclaiming “Let It Snow! Britain Braces Itself For A White Christmas”. This was equally ineffective.
No it isn't
But then came some actual wintry weather, which was duly talked up by Rao: “Met Office Issues Severe Weather Alert As Heavy Snow Spreads” was followed by “12-Inches Of Snow To Fall In Blizzards From Arctic” and then “Britain Faces Killer Arctic Blast And 130 MPH Gales”. Just last weekend, Sarah Westcott brought us “It’s A White Christmas”, thus ensuring that it wouldn’t be.
As the Met Office has confirmed, Autumn 2011 was 2.1 Celsius warmer than average, and the second warmest Autumn for 100 years. That positive temperature anomaly rose from 1.5 degrees in September to 2.0 in October and 2.9 in November. This week – in my part of the world, at least – has seen temperatures into double figures, with Christmas Day predicted to be equally mild.
So well done all those hacks at the Express: through their efforts we have experienced an Autumn and early Winter that would have been unimaginable this time last year. This Christmas, we should raise a glass to the Desmond press, and their unique talent for incurring an inverse weather curse, to the benefit of all. The Express has finally enjoyed a successful crusade.
That’s a genuine Benchmark Of Excellence.