UK flooded summer
© North News and Pictures LTDA boating holiday in the Lakes: Seven-year-old Max Preston, from Merseyside, paddles his kayak around the tents on a campsite near Keswick

The campers paddling between flooded tents didn't need to be told. Neither did the families huddling for shelter beside deserted beaches.

But yesterday the weathermen officially admitted that their prediction of a 'barbecue summer' had been hopelessly wrong.

And the bad news for millions of holidaymakers, many of whom had opted to stay in Britain on the strength of the optimistic forecast, is that after a soggy July, August will be no better.

As the Met Office rather sheepishly announced that it had 'revised' its seasonal forecast, the tourism industry was asking how the experts got things so badly wrong.

There were even fears that disappointment over the third wet summer in a row could put some families off British holidays for good.

It was in April that the Met Office proclaimed the chances were 'odds-on for a barbecue summer'. Rather like Michael Fish in October 1987, after he mockingly dismissed claims that a hurricane was on its way, the aptly-renamed 'Wet Office' was forced to confess its shortcomings yesterday.

'Seasonal forecasting is still a new science,' it said in defence. 'It's something we are still building on.'
UK flooded summer
© SWNSWhen's it going to stop, Dad? Misery on the Devon coast.

UK flooded summer
© Andrew FoxWater, water, everywhere: Miserable families queue in the downpour to while away a few soggy hours at the Sea Life centre

Philip Eden, vice president of the Royal Meteorological Society, accused the Met Office of indulging in 'spin'.

He said: 'The problem is that we don't actually know very much about the outside influences which affect the weather during a period of, say, a month or three months ahead. The big problem with this forecast was the spin that was put on it by the Met Office's press office - the "barbecue summer" bit.'

At the time the chief meteorologist, Ewen McCallum, said there was a 50 per cent chance of above- average temperatures and a 30 per cent chance of average temperatures. The chances of the summer being a washout were around 30 per cent, he declared.

But after a short-lived heatwave in June, July saw almost a month's worth of rain falling in the first two weeks alone.
UK flooded summer
© Huw Evans Agency LtdAll the gloom of the fair: A family turn away from the closed amusements as rain lashes South Wales

UK flooded summer
© John JamesUnited we sit: Brollies interlock at a cafe in Shakespeare country

Yesterday, Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides was hit by a tornado while in Cumbria 100 children were evacuated from their inundated campsite.

This of course is far from the first time that the Met Office has come under fire for its inaccurate predictions. In both 2007 and 2008 it said the summers would be warm and dry.

And in May this year, many outdoor events were cancelled in resorts such as Bournemouth on the strength of a gloomy forecast. As it turned out, Dorset basked in day-long sunshine and balmy temperatures of 22c (72F) - with no visitors there to enjoy it.
UK flooded summer
© North NewsFowl weather we're having: A bemused youngster finds her family's holiday campsite turned overnight into Swan Lake after Derwent Water rose above its banks

Annette Cole, of the South West Tourism Board, said that while she obviously could not blame the Met Office for the weather, its optimistic forecast had been 'over the top'.

'When we heard the seasonal forecast we thought that was great, just what we need, a really good summer this year. Obviously we are very disappointed.'

Elliott Frisby, from VisitBritain, said: 'People look back at the previous year when they are planning trips. They might think, "We didn't get the barbecue summer" and decide not to stay in Britain next year.'
Met Office bad forecast
© DailyMail

In the Lake District, campers were swamped after heavy rain sent river levels soaring. Evacuation operations began just after midnight at the Keswick and Braithwaite sites, which border Derwent Water and the River Greta, after 2in of rain fell in a few hours.

Philip Nightingale, 47, a design engineer from Thornton Cleveleys, near Blackpool, was caravanning with his wife Karen and two daughters.

He said: 'At 6.30am we had a knock on the door saying, "I think you'd better get out". I looked out and got a shock. The water was surrounding us - it was like a lake. So we had to pack all our stuff up. I'm walking around in my bare feet because my shoes are wet.'

A spokesman for the Met Office insisted it was not embarrassed and would not be apologising.

'In April we said there was a 65 per cent chance of temperatures above average and rainfall below average but that does leave a 35 per cent chance that the opposite would be true,' she said.

'June was particularly nice. We had temperatures in the 30s for a couple of days. Wimbledon had two weeks of virtually uninterrupted play and Glastonbury had some good weather.
UK flooded summer
© ReutersChilly dip: Three women brave the slate grey Skegness sea

'July has not been as nice as people wanted and unfortunately it has been fairly wet.'

Michael Fish, now retired, defended his former colleagues, saying holidaymakers 'took more notice of this forecast than they have in the past. But you have to just take pot luck'.

A spokesman for Abta, the travel association, said that although foreign bookings are down by 10 per cent on last year, the number of Britons booking last-minute trips increased in July.

'Tour operators are reporting that people are ringing wanting to escape to the sun immediately,' he said. 'Britons are looking for destinations where hot weather is guaranteed.'
UK flooded summer
© NewsLine scotlandTwister: The mini tornado in Stornaway damaged cars and houses

UK flooded summer
© MeteoGroupOn the radar: The thunderstorm cell over Stornaway when the mini tornado struck

UK flooded summer
© ReutersWaterlogged: Groundsmen at Edgbaston cricket ground prepare to clear the outfield before the third Ashes test match between England and Australia