The Met Office hosted an event for members of the South East Area at their London offices. The event was restricted to 30 members only and places were keenly sought after.

Michelle Spillar from the Met Office gave the first presentation of the day. Michelle outlined the changing science of meteorological predictions showing how the abilities and capabilities of the organisation have evolved over time to allow the accuracy of today’s forecasts, particularly over the short term. The Met Office is able to offer short term forecasts (as per the public weather service) which can be of use for operational purposes within water companies and more long-term models of climate change and weather patterns. In the second presentation Dave Parker, the Chief Meteorologist at EDF Energy outlined how understanding the weather and its impacts are of critical importance to an energy utility. He explained how EDF are taking the services offered by the Met Office and utilising to provide their own needs. The solutions need not always be complex to be effective.

In summing up Jim Marshall (Water UK) noted that water utilities are not dissimilar to energy utilities and knowing and understanding weather and its impacts are just as important. Many areas of water company business hinge on the weather (demand forecasting, pumping water, optimising storage, leakage, water quality, preparedness and safety to name a few) and delegates were encouraged to consider where a better understanding of weather and a better ability to forecast would impact their jobs and their companies. The Met Office concluded the event by thanking delegates for attending and offered an open invite to members to visit the Met Office headquarters in Exeter. Michelle Spillar then took small groups to visit the Flood Forecasting Centre. This was established as a direct response to the major floods of 2007 and is a joint Met Office / EA initiative bringing together real time monitoring of rainfall together with information on river responses to provide flood warnings.