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BBC criticised for 'alarmist' weather reporting

Jun 22 2012 Posted by Laura Canning

Holiday park owners have criticised BBC weather forecasters for ‘alarmist’ reporting this week, saying it’s keeping people away and affecting bookings in the caravan industry.

One park owner in Devon said meteorologists are ‘trying to cover all bases’ to avoid another Michael Fish incident, when the weather forecaster notoriously assured viewers in 1987 that a hurricane wasn’t about to hit the country – the day before the infamous Great Storm.

Tony Clish, director of Park Holidays UK, which has 25 caravan parks along the south coast, said: 'Just last week we were told that all caravan parks in southern England were on flood alert and this simply wasn't the case.

'Some parks in Wales did flood recently, but that's no reason to suggest that caravans in Suffolk would soon be bobbing around on parks which have never flooded before.'

Claire Jeavons, who runs the Beverley Park holiday site in Devon, said 'alarmist' forecasts, were greatly affecting bookings across the West Country.

'It is already causing holiday-makers to stay away,’ she said. ‘Just a few days ago we were hearing that all caravan parks in the West Country were on flood alert and this simply wasn't the case.

'We've been receiving many calls from worried customers.'

But the BBC said there was no intention of forecasters to be deliberately pessimistic.

Weather presenter Tomasz Schafernaker said: 'I understand the frustration and there is a tendency for weather forecasters to emphasise on the negative aspects of the weather.

'It's just that our job is to pick out the most important parts of the weather which can affect people's lives. If indeed there's going to be a shower somewhere we need to flag up that possibility.'

Heavy rain and floods are predicted for many parts of the UK this weekend, with thousands of visitors to the Isle of Wight festival unable to get into designated car parks last night because of rain and mud.