BACK in September – long before one of the mildest Christmases in recent years – warnings of a FOUR MONTH BIG FREEZE started to emerge.

Reports in the national press warned of Christmas chaos.

Headlines included:

UK weather forecast: 32 DAYS of snow - Big FREEZE warning latest

UK weather: ‘Severe snow’ to FREEZE Britain as four month ‘Polar assault’ begins NEXT WEEK

UK weather – Britain could be hit by FOUR MONTHS of snow in ‘coldest winter for a decade’ after heatwave

So what happened? Unless we’re missing something here, we don’t remember a big whiteout.

We have in fact had one of the milder Decembers in recent years, and despite current reports, January could continue in that vein.

The truth is that while it is not impossible to predict weather so far into the future, it is far from an exact science.

That is precisely why the Met Office – the UK’s most respected forecaster – stopped providing long term forecasts. Because every time they got it wrong, it damaged their reputation.

The Met Office though left a gap in the market.

Others are only too happy to provide longer term forecasts – and some sections of the media are only too happy to oblige them with publicity – keen for the web hits which come with a story predicting ice, snow and chaos.

But you can only cry wolf so many times before readers get wise. However, a report debunking the warnings, setting the record straight, or simply explaining what is going on, can be just as effective.

So here’s our weather warning, it is wise to some homework, search around and see what the Met Office or the BBC is reporting.

Or failing that, just take a look out of the window...