Keeping up to date with the weather is arguably as important as keeping up to date with the news when you run a business. As a facilities manager, an office manager or someone who is in charge of keeping workplace premises safe, being aware of the weather conditions isn't likely at the front of your mind but it is crucial for ensuring you have taken the correct steps to ensure the safety of both employees and visitors to your site.
The UK weather is considered to be very unpredictable. With temperatures occasionally soaring above 30°C in the summer and then dropping to below freezing in the winter, the weather also brings bouts of rain throughout the year. Whilst the UK does have specific seasons, the weather can often be hard to predict.
Most of us will have a weather app or website saved on phones or computers. Whether these sites are accurate or useful is up for debate but, most of the time they will get the weather right. You might be thinking, what is the most reliable weather source? And what steps do I need to take to prepare my business premises? We’ll take a closer look below.
The most important thing we all want to know is how accurate the websites are.
Well, to answer this quickly, they are accurate over short periods. A seven-day forecast, for example, is 80% accurate, and a five-day forecast is 90% accurate. When you look at longer periods, anything over ten days, the accuracy goes down to less than 50%. This explains why TV weather shows only show weekly or daily forecasts to ensure they are as accurate as possible.
The process of predicting what the weather will be like isn’t as overcomplicated as you’d think:
- Understanding the current weather
- Calculating how this will change in future
- Using meteorological experts to refine the details
With modern technology, predicting weather has become easier. Supercomputers work to predict what will happen; meteorologists continuously check the data to find out what weather is expected.
For the public, weather websites can help you plan out your day or week. Though, we have all been caught out by a surprise burst of rain when the website said glorious sunshine all day.
For businesses, it is also useful to use weather websites to their advantage. Places like schools and universities can benefit from checking weather updates to prepare outdoor areas with grit bins and snow shovels as the weather turns colder and winter approaches. This sort of preparation can be crucial when it comes to following your legal duties.
There are lots of websites out there, and all can differ slightly in terms of what they say the weather will be like each day. To try and help you pick the best site and avoid being caught in a surprise rainfall or heatwave, we have investigated the finer details of the sites and apps and ranked the best ones to use.
1: BBC Weather
The BBC weather website is regarded as one of the best and most trustworthy websites on the web. The website has many helpful little widgets such as ‘Add Location’ which allows you to add locations that you would like to know the weather for. You can use it to put the location of where you live and where you work.
The website also provides weather warnings, allowing you to know how serious the weather is going to be.
2: The Met Office
The Met Office is regarded as the most reliable source for weather information in the UK. Using their Numerical Weather Prediction model, they state that their four-day forecast is now as accurate as their 1-day forecast was 30 years ago.
Although their site is less user-friendly than the BBC weather site. You click on the map and then select the region and location, and it shows the weather for that specific region. You can type in your postcode as a shortcut.
This website has a lot more information, including weather warnings, surface pressure charts and weather advice. You can also view a day-by-day write-up of what the weather will be like in the morning, midday and night.
3: Weather Spark
Weather Spark is a useful website with some of the best information that goes into detail.
The website provides many averages such as the highest and lowest temperatures over the year, the fraction of time spent in various temperature bands, daylight and twilight, clouds, cloud types, dew points, wind speeds, and much more. You are also able to view a simplified version of the weather forecast by typing in your location.
This is all useful information based on historical data and meteorological observation tools. This helps to give you an idea of the expected weather for a given location, allowing you to effectively plan ahead and make important decisions for your business.
Accuweather allows you to view hourly, daily and monthly weather forecasts for a given location. It also offers more specific detail in their ‘Minutecast’ which provides minute-by-minute detail on the level of rain, snow and ice expected in the area.
This website also allows you to search for your postcode to get the weather you want to know. You can also create an account that will allow you to log in, all the details you need will be there to view.
5: UK Weather
UK Weather, just like the rest, allows you to search with your postcode to get the weather that you care about the most.
You can see a daily forecast, an hourly forecast and a monthly forecast. You can also view an interactive map with colours dotted all over showing what will fall on the UK today. With a helpful colour chart beneath showing what the colours mean. The climate can also be viewed on this webpage, along with the travel and health tips concurrent with the weather.
A little weather box will also be saved at the top of the page showing a picture of the weather, such as a cloud with a sun behind it, the temperature and where this weather is forecast.
The best advice we can offer is to ensure that you keep up to date with the weather forecasts. They can change daily, so be prepared for the ups and downs. Maybe keep an item of clothing for each weather condition ready in your car or place of work just in case.
Snow can present many challenges for your business. Under the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957, business owners have a duty of care to clear snow and ice present on the premises and in some circumstances outside the premises. If you fail to do so, and someone has an accident, you could be held responsible.
Snow shovels and snow ploughs from Kingfisher Direct
We stock a range of winter accessories to aid you when clearing snow from your premises.
Snow shovels are a great piece of equipment designed to help you efficiently clear large amounts of snow. We stock a range of sizes and types including handheld shovels, telescopic shovels, pusher shovels and snow ploughs.
Browse our range of winter accessories from Kingfisher Direct
Ice in and around your premises can increase the likelihood of slips and falls. Under the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957, you must ensure all access routes on your premises are clear of ice and take relative preventative measures to clear it.
Opting for a grit bin on-site can ensure you have a readily available supply of grit salt. Whilst it might not be on the forefront of your mind in the autumnal months, it's a good idea to prepare early for the winter weather to ensure you have everything you need ahead of time.
Browse our range of grit bins from Kingfisher Direct
Salt spreaders offer convenience when it comes to distributing the salt around your premises. At Kingfisher Direct, we stock a variety of types including hand held salt spreaders, wheeled salt spreaders and towable salt spreaders. The type of salt spreader you need will mainly depend on the size of the area you need to cover and the amount of salt you need.
Browse our range of salt spreaders from Kingfisher Direct
De-icing Rock Salt
De-icing rock salt is an effective solution for eradicating any ice in or around your premises. When you apply the salt, it dissolves, separating it into sodium and chloride ions. This helps to disrupt the bonds between water molecules, loosening the hydrogen bonds, and melting the ice into water.
We stock a range of quantities depending on the needs of your business. When deciding on how much de-icing rock salt, we would recommend the following amount:
0°C to -5°C
10-20 grams /m²
20-30 grams /m²
0°C to -5°C
25-40 grams / m²
40-50 grams /m²
Browse our range of rock salt from Kingfisher Direct
Whilst the sunny weather is welcomed by many, extreme temperatures can pose a risk to individuals visiting or working at your premises.
Whilst there is no law that states a maximum working temperature, you are required to follow the health and safety at work law which states you must keep the temperature at a comfortable level. Portable fans are a great solution if you don’t have an air conditioning system or if you want to further improve air circulation.
Potable water tanks are ideal in premises where access to a water main is not readily available. You must ensure the potable water tanks are approved under the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS) and that the correct steps are taken to safely store the water to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria such as Legionella.
Potable water tanks
Browse our range of potable water tanks from Kingfisher Direct
Browse our range of fans from Kingfisher Direct
Whilst rain does not necessarily pose much of a threat to your premises, there are lots of opportunities to utilise water that would otherwise be lost down the drain.
For many businesses, sustainability is one of their top priorities and harvesting rainwater can be an effective way to reduce reliance on mains water. Rainwater harvesting systems can be used to provide a cost-effective alternative to a mains water supply by storing, filtering and pumping rainwater to your premises and making use of water that would otherwise drain away.
Rainwater harvesting kits are a great option for many types of businesses including offices, schools, universities and retail stores.
Rainwater harvesting systems
We stock a range of rainwater harvesting systems including water butts, above-ground rainwater harvesting tanks and underground rainwater harvesting tanks.
Browse our range of rainwater harvesting systems from Kingfisher Direct
Use weather forecasts to plan ahead and prepare
Taking steps to make your premises safe for staff and visitors is necessary for ensuring you abide by the correct rules and regulations. Utilising weather forecasts can help you plan ahead and prepare for every eventuality.