Did you know over the past year The Daily Express has run a weather-related story on its front page 111 times?
No, nor did I but we probably shouldn't be surprised. The Express has come in for plenty of criticism for its weather-related front pages and predictions and now one blogger, the indefatigable Scott Bryan, has done some digging into the facts and figures behind a year's worth of headlines.
For example, Bryan's research reveals that since 1 September last year, the weather was the main news story of the day 52 times on the front of The Express. And on no fewer than 12 of those instances the story involved a specific mention of "CHAOS".
So that means there has been an average of one major weather-related news story per week and one warning of weather-related "CHAOS" per month.
It's almost as if they have a quota to keep.
Helpfully Bryan has included Met Office reports to let us know how accurate (spoiler: not very) The Express's stories have been.
You should read Bryan's own, very detailed blog post. But some notable highlights of the month-by-month run-down are worth flagging.
For example take The Express's 20th October headline: "BIG FREEZE WILL KILL THOUSANDS". That ushered in the second warmest November in over 100 years according to the Met Office.
Or how about on 5th December when The Express told us: "WHY A WHITE CHRISTMAS IS A SURE BET". It followed this on the 17th December by declaring: "IT'S A WHITE CHRISTMAS". Sadly neither the bookies nor the snow Gods were listening eight days later as anybody backing The Express's 'sure thing' wasted their money.
One of the mildest
In fact, the Met Office reported: "Christmas Day was generally cloudy, breezy and one of the mildest on record, with 14°c recorded at Church Fenton (North Yorkshire), and no snow reported anywhere."
On the 27th January, The Express front page told us "BIG FREEZE TO LAST A MONTH" but looking back the Met Office noted: "A significant number of stations recorded their highest February temperature on record".
Of course we don't need the Met Office to tell us The Express's headlines were wide of the mark. It normally contradicts itself given a few days.
On 15th May, The Express claimed "NEW COLD SNAP TO LAST FOR A MONTH" as its main front page lead. This was followed four days later by "GLORIOUS SUMMER IS ON THE WAY" and then "80 DEGREE FAHRENHEIT: BRITAIN HOTTER THAN SPAIN THIS WEEK" on 21st May.
And on 7th July, The Express warned us: "SORRY THERE'S NO MIGHT ABOUT IT... IT WILL RAIN TILL SEPTEMBER".
Which of course it didn't, as The Express acknowledged with its headline "95F. FORGET THE RAIN... BRITAIN'S SUMMER STARTS THIS WEEKEND" less than two week later and "UK BASKS IN TROPICAL SUNSHINE" a few days after that.
You get the idea.
But to be fair, The Express has also been right at times.
On 2nd April, The Express claimed "BRITAIN FACING WEEK OF SNOW – EIGHT INCHES TO FALL". And White Hillocks, 30 miles north of Dundee, did receive 22cm of snow that week. Even if much of the UK was left untouched by any late snow fall at all.
Similarly, in December when The Express reported "BRITAIN BATTERED BY 165 MPH WINDS" there had been, according to the Met Office, a "164 mph gust recorded on Cairngorm Summit (altitude 1,237 metres)".