Don’t blame it on the (Upminster) weatherman!
- Credit: Archant
Does Britain’s weather leave you wondering if you should pack an umbrella, sun cream or a bobble hat? Upminster’s answer to Michael Fish can help.
Alan Paul, a 69-year-old electrical engineer, has been carefully tracking the weather around his home and sharing it via his website.
Alan writes two forecasts daily and provides live records of the temperature, wind speed and cloud coverage.
His interest in meteorology was inspired by his father who used to send data from a Chingford school, where he was headmaster, to the Met Office twice a day.
“I became interested because I wanted to understand how we could have such extreme weather,” he said.
“I still remember trying to read the thermometer in the big freeze of 1963, and I couldn’t believe that it was so cold.”
In his garden, Alan has built a weather station where he collects data for his website, as well as passing it on to the Met Office.
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His equipment includes two computers, a lightning detector and a 16ft aerial on the side of his house.
Each morning, Alan sends texts to builders, car mechanics and other tradesman working outside locally.
He said: “I’ve always been interested in weather and it’s always changing so I thought it was important that people could plan their days.
“I sometimes have the bus drivers stop outside my house to check if it’s going to rain before they take their wives somewhere nice that afternoon!”
Alan’s expertise has also been called upon by brokers responsible for insuring contractors working on the Gherkin.
Alan said: “I received a phone call from Lloyds of London at 6:30am, warning me that I was being recorded.
“They wanted to know how high the wind speeds would reach so they could decide whether it was safe to use the crane.”
Outside of running his website, Alan works full-time alongside his son James Paul, also an electrical engineer.
He enjoys ice-skating, amateur radio and flying model helicopters.
“I can never sit down,” he said. “ I think I last switched on my TV about four years ago and it was rubbish so I never switched it back on.”
To check Alan’s forecasts go to: upminsterweather.co.uk