Well known astronomer and weatherman Jonathan Powell admits cheerfully, “I love the idea of a nice garden with a striped lawn and a pond and lovely flowers but in reality my own garden is mostly concrete with lots of weather contraptions, some that work and some that don’t. There are a few flower borders but the dog deals with those. I really love those old Victorian ornate street lamps and would love to have a couple of those in the garden.”
“Gardening takes loads of time and effort and I don’t have much of either, I am more of a planner than a doer,” he adds. “I am planning to sponsor a roundabout locally in Blaenau Gwent but I am assuming I only have to pay for it and not actually do the work.”
Jonathan and his company Positive Weather Solutions, reached notoriety last year when he correctly contradicted the Met Office’s prediction for a BBQ summer. Consequently the Met office ceased to provide long range weather forecasts, something Positive Weather Solutions specialises in. “We had a great write up in the Telegraph,” Jonathan recalls “and had over 442 thousand hits on our website on that day. The Met office stepped out and we stepped in; they got cold feet but we are brave enough to keep predicting long range forecasts. We also use the same system for forecasting weather for people’s weddings, Shows and other important dates. It’s a popular service, though we also do 7 day and monthly forecasts.”
So how does one of the most popular topics of conversation turn into a career? “My starting point was astronomy – I still do a regular slot with Roy Noble on Radio Wales. I was always taking recordings of rainfall and wind speed and studied historical data collected from independent professional observers. Then I thought ‘all I need to do is design and create a computer programme using those recorded variables’.”
“We are definitely seeing stranger weather patterns these days and the UK may well get a few temperature spikes through August that could give a couple of record temperatures. But overall the prediction for Autumn is much colder than average. September is likely to be wet and there is a threat of it being cold enough to turn that moisture to wintery showers in late September and again in November. Russia has had their hottest summer on record and their extreme heat will turn to extreme cold and extend toward us for the autumn. There will be some very sharp frosts,” he warns
I wondered if Jonathan uses Folklore to form his predictions. He laughs, “It’s a nice idea. I know some farmers still rely on the buds and berries as weather indicators and I like to think that Nature still plays a big part in providing signs to reveal her own weather plans but to be honest I couldn’t scientifically rely on it!”
Pop into www.positiveweathersolutions.co.uk for more of Jonathan’s weather predictions.