It has been a busy year for the Centre Court roof and the Met Office forecasters at this year's Wimbledon, with the event seeing some typically British summer weather.
From heavy showers to sweltering sunshine, it has been a fast-changing picture for the two on-site Met Office forecasters who have been providing regular updates for tournament officials.
A wet start
Rain fell on day one, but the forecasts helped decision-makers stay one step ahead of the rain to ensure the maximum amount of tennis for competitors and spectators alike.
Tim Hewson, one of the on-site Met Office forecasters for the tournament, said: "We can't stop the rain from falling, but we can help the referee organise the tournament around the weather, so that spectators get to watch as much tennis as possible, and so that players don't risk injury by playing on slippery courts.
"There has been a real mixed bag of weather, especially compared to last year when no rain affected play at all. This year it has been a much more complex affair with showers falling on a daily basis until the latter stages of the tournament."
Despite the difficult weather, feedback from officials at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, BBC commentators, and others about the Met Office guidance has been very positive.
Andy Jarrett, Referee at Wimbledon, said: "Some of the difficult decisions that I had to make at this Championships with many showers were greatly helped by the expertise of the Met Office forecasting team."
There have been some spot-on forecasts too. On day one, it was forecast the first rain of the tournament would fall at 5pm - the showers showed up at 5.05pm. Also, on Tuesday of the second week, a very mixed day of weather was accurately predicted - as shown in the example below.
Chris Tubbs, the other shift forecaster for the event, said: "The roof has certainly come into its own this year, but they like to play with it open if at all possible - so we've been giving updates on if, and when, they can open it.
"We have had an incredibly successful fortnight here at the Championships and it's great to see that contribute to a successful tournament."
A forecast example
Tuesday, week 2: The forecast issued at 0930 indicated a significant risk of showers and thunderstorms from late morning until 1500, then a dry but rather cloudy spell until at least 1800, but then with a risk of light rain and bad light interrupting play in the evening. A forecast update at 1400 said that the dry spell would commence at about 1600.
What happened: Heavy showers and thunderstorms lasted on and off from 1245 until 1615, causing play to be suspended, except on centre court where the closed roof allowed women's singles quarter final matches to proceed. From 1615 until 1915 it was cloudy but dry; covers came off and play recommenced. Around 1915 light drizzle set in, and this, combined with deteriorating light, caused play to be curtailed for the day (except on Centre, where the roof stayed closed).
Wimbledon weather statistics*
|Highest Daytime Temperature||31.4 C on Monday 27 June|
|Lowest Daytime Temperature||12.7 C on Friday 24 June|
|Highest Rainfall||5mm on Friday 24 June|
Players called off three times on Thursday 23 June
* Observations taken from Kew, the nearest observation station to the Wimbledon ground
Last updated: Jul 4, 2011 5:39 PM