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Posted on Fri 20th Dec, 2013 in: Influence, Newspapers, Uncategorized by Phil Reed

He's been in the news (well, mainly the Express and Daily Star) on an almost daily basis for the past year. But not only has he "influenced"? the news agenda of two of our national newspapers, he can actually take the credit for Britain having its hottest, driest summer in years (see below). For those reasons - and with tongue firmly in cheek - we're making Jonathan Powell of Vantage Weather Services the Aberfield PR Influencer of the Year. Everyone from the New Statesman to the North Devon Journal has taken pot-shots at Mr Powell's predictions. But however often you knock him down, you can guarantee he'll be back within days with another apocalyptic forecast. Vantage/Powell (they appear to be one and the same) don't do mundane forecasts, and they don't hedge their bets. It's either an Arctic freeze or a sweltering heatwave. And it's those outlandish predictions that The Express clearly loves. So far in 2013, Vantage Weather Services has appeared in the newspaper on more than 200 occasions - many of them page 1 or page 3 leads. Last January, Powell was quoted in 10 out of 12 consecutive issues, and in 17 out of 20 editions in July. VWS even boasts of its media exposure on its website. Occasionally he does get it right, but frankly no-one at The Express (including his favourite reporter, Nathan Rao) will be keeping score. Readers obviously love his predictions, however inaccurate they turn out to be. Here's just a few examples: November 2013 - "Big freeze on its way"?. Jonathan warned of widespread snow and freezing gales over the following week. In reality it was just a bit chilly and few of us saw any snow. October 2013 - "Worst winter in decades"? with a "record-breaking"? November. No it wasn't. October 2013 - "Indian summer to hit Britain"?. A week of 75F temperatures? A couple of warm days, perhaps, in certain parts, but most of us saw no heatwave. November 2012 - "Coldest winter in 100 years on its way"?. There was no "savage freeze"?. Turned out it wasn't even the coldest winter in the past five years. As for Powell single-handedly being responsible for our "Phew! What a scorcher!"? summer of sun, our evidence comes from The Express (where else?) in May this year, with the headline: "Another washout summer on its way!"? Of course, that prediction meant only one thing - time to reach for the sun cream and Speedos. And, as we now know, he didn't let us down. Fair play, it's not always doom and gloom from our favourite forecaster. By mid-August, temperatures had cooled somewhat, but JP was confident the heatwave would be back in time for the Bank Holiday weekend. As you can see from this picture, he was bang on again! No doubt our man - aided and abetted by The Express - will be headline-making throughout 2014, so keep your eyes peeled and dress appropriately, ie the opposite of whatever he says. And finally!what does Mr Powell reckon Christmas will bring? Twelve days of storms, apparently. Great stuff. Pass me my shades and flip flops! Merry Christmas, one and all. See you in 2014.

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