Meteorologist warning of deadly heat versus ‘Don’t Look Up’ clip.


Meteorologist John Hammond last week conceded the weather was fine in Britain but warned GB News presenters that temperatures were about to rise, something he predicted would kill hundreds – even thousands.

“The charts I can see in front of me are terrifying. So we all like nice weather, but it’s not going to be nice weather,” Hammond said during the July 14 segment. “This will be potentially deadly weather for a few days. It will be short but brutal.”

Anchor Bev Turner interrupted.

“So, John, I want us to be happy about the weather and everyone — I don’t know if something happened to the weather forecasters that makes you all a bit fatalistic and doomsaying.”

Clips from the nearly three-minute segment from the right-wing news network — sometimes dubbed Fox News of Britain — have gone viral. Until Thursday morning one had garnered more than 18 million views on Twitter by contrasting Hammond’s interview with a scene from the movie Don’t Look Up, in which an astronomer, played by Jennifer Lawrence, yells during a newscast that a meteor is about to crash and destroy becomes Earth, only to have a TV host tell her they’re trying to “shed light on the bad news.”

Hammond’s prediction of brutal heat came true. Since he appeared in GB News, Britain and much of Europe have been seething. On Tuesday, Britain broke its record for the highest temperature, with officials there describing the heatwave as a “national emergency”. Much of England, including London, was the subject of the country’s first ‘red’ warning, meaning the heat posed a danger even to healthy people, the Associated Press reported. Wildfires have now ravaged countries across the European continent.

Britain sees hottest day on record with temperatures hitting 40 degrees Celsius

Neither GB News nor Turner immediately responded to Washington Post requests for comment early Thursday. Even though Turner conceded on Wednesday on Twitter that Hammond was right when she said the country wasn’t “prepared for the heat,” saying it hadn’t suffered an unusual spate of deaths because of it. Hammond told The Post in an online message that it was too early to come up with such numbers.

After Turner begged him to be happy about the weather, Hammond pushed back. Again he reminded her that he predicted it would kill people. “I don’t think we should be too… light-hearted given the fact that many will be dying from the heat early next week.”

Turner also compared the heat wave to one 46 years ago: “Haven’t we always had hot weather, John? ’76 – the summer of ’76 – wasn’t as hot as this, was it?”

“Uh, no,” Hammond replied. He’s right – the peak temperature that year was around 96.6 degrees Fahrenheit (35.9 degrees Celsius), according to the BBC, compared to 104.5 (40.3) this year. Although people mention 1976 to dismiss climate change, it was a “freak event,” Hammond said. In contrast to that outlier, the UK is now “seeing more and more records, more frequent and more serious,” he said during the GB News segment.

This week, Turner has repeatedly downplayed the heatwave on Twitter. On WednesdayShe ranted about “all this heat exaggeration.” On MondayTurner said she enjoys “a nice breeze.”

“If everyone didn’t tell me to be scared…I wouldn’t even realize it,” she wrote.

For many people, there’s still a disconnect between what they’ve always called “fine weather” — clear skies, sunshine — and the reality that there are hot days due to climate change, which are only getting more extreme and damaging, he said Hammond the Post.

“The notion of thousands of deaths in excess is clearly incomprehensible to many,” he said. “Similarly, until floods spill on our doorsteps or drought runs out of food, we don’t really ‘understand’ the threat of climate change until it affects us personally.”

Hammond said he hopes his dabbling at internet fame will help change that.

“It’s certainly started a conversation about the language we use and how we communicate the threat of extreme weather in our forecasts,” he told the Post. “That must be good.” Meteorologist warning of deadly heat versus ‘Don’t Look Up’ clip.

James Brien

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