Weather forecasters in Moscow have been told they face heavy fines if they get the weather wrong.

Moscow Mayor Juri Luschkov said: “Weather forecasters in our city and the surrounding area will be held responsible for financial losses that the city incurs through their incorrect prognoses.”

He added this often happens in winter when weathermen fail to predict heavy snowfalls, which affects the city’s infrastructure.

This month the Russian capital experienced its heaviest snowfall in years when 20 centimetres of snow fell in one night. This left streets blocked because not enough street cleaners had been hired to clear the snow away, leaving people unable to get to work.

Mayor Luschkov said the same could apply in the summer if outdoor festivals had been planned for sunny days and it rained – forcing visitors away.

The Mayor, however, does have his own way of ensuring beautiful skies for important days – he sends up specially equipped planes to sprinkle a special chemical that dissolves clouds. He did not elaborate on how much the fines would be or if the cash would be taken from the weathermen, or the companies they worked for.

The fines come after the head of the Romanian National Meteorology Agency, Ion Poiana, was fired after he predicted warm weather fronts on days when temperatures plunged to a record minus 36 degrees centigrade.

More here.