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Jeddah residents disillusioned by weather forecasts


Published: Jan 4, 2011 22:42 Updated: Jan 4, 2011 22:42

JEDDAH: With memories of the November 2009 floods still very vivid, residents of Jeddah are browsing Internet sites looking for reliable weather forecasts only to get confused due to conflicting information.

The contradicting weather forecasts have been the subject of conversation among many Jeddah residents who now become easily frightened by the slightest sight of clouds.

The BBC’s weather forecast last Tuesday, for example, predicted there would be no rain on Thursday and Friday whereas the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) predicted otherwise.

“We are concerned with monitoring the weather in the Kingdom,” said Hussain Al-Qahtani, spokesman for the PME. “We stick to what appears at our weather stations and are not concerned with what other organizations forecast, let alone comment on them.”

Dr. Mansour Al-Mazrouie, director of the Center for Climatic Changes at King Abdulaziz University (KAU), said it is not right to totally reject the forecasts about the weather in Saudi Arabia from international sites but warned that they should not be taken for granted.

“These sites monitor the weather for limited hours. We do not refuse their results but advise people not to take them for granted,” he said.

He added that PME’s forecasts are reliable, as they are based on detailed studies using radars and satellites. “The PME forecasts are accurate. They closely follow climate changes, something that foreign sites do not do,” he said.

Al-Mazrouie said forecasts by foreign bodies might be exaggerated or misleading at times.

“We only consider foreign weather forecasts as indicators but do not entirely depend on them. With the presence of the PME site, there is no need for ordinary citizens to browse foreign sites,” he said.

He asked citizens and foreigners to rely on the PME’s forecasts, which are reliable and credible.

Al-Mazrouie said KAU and PME work close together.  “We have air and land monitoring stations and a network of radars covering the entire Kingdom in addition to satellite photos which are not available to foreign sites,” he said.

For more information visit: http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article229402.ece

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