July 31, 2012 5:22 PM
NETHERLANDS - There may be dark clouds ahead for those predicting the weather in the Netherlands. Labour councillors in Hoek van Holland want to slap weather forecasters with fines if their predictions turn out to be incorrect.
The councillors point to claims that erroneous rain and thunderstorms reports are hurting the tourism industry.
According to the Telegraph, the proposal arose after Joep Thonissen, head of Dutch tourist association Recron, complained that "incorrect" forecasts were causing "considerable damage" to visitor attractions.
"Last week it was really good weather over most of the country but the weather forecasts were full of heavy rain and thunderstorms, so people stayed home," said Thonissen.
Much of the criticism has fallen upon KNMI (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute), the national data center for weather whose data is used for many national news forecasts.
"Recent weather reporting has been completely inaccurate and it is hitting local businesses dearly because people are cancelling bookings," hotel owner Pieter van Cutsem told the Telegraph. "I agree they should be fined on the grounds of disseminating incorrect information."
KNMI spokesperson Cees Molenaars told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf: "TV, radio and newspapers use the raw data we deliver but it is up to them to how their forecasts turn out."
This news comes only a week after hotel and restaurant owners in Belgium said they were going to sue weather bureau Meteo Belgique for its similarly gloomy forecasts.
Hoteliers based along the Belgian coastline have said incorrect predictions of rainy weather have cost them "millions of euro" in lost revenue.
"We have been inundated with people cancelling their holidays. From hotels to beach huts, they have all been affected," Daniel de Spiegelaere, head of tourism in Knokke-Heist, told the Telegraph.
"They predicted the first two weeks of August to be bad and, consequently, we immediately got cancellations. This is totally unacceptable to our members."