The Sideshow

Tourist town threatening to sue weather service over bad forecasts

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A European town says inaccurate weather forecasts are hurting its tourist trade. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP)

In some parts of Europe the debate over climate change has moved on to a debate over who gets to predict a change in the summer climate.

The mayor of a Belgian seaside resort says his town may sue a private weather service after the station predicted bad summer weather.

"We all know we're not in the Cote d'Azur or southern Italy," Knokke Mayor Leo Lippens told NPR. "But we have a fantastic climate here and to give the impression it is disgusting is disgusting and that I don't allow."

The Belgian private weather service Meteo Belgique predicted that the region would have only two weeks of sunny weather in August, which Lippens says hurt the town's tourism business.

"That's public disinformation and when you arrive at that stage, you ... should be closed down or financially responsible," Lippens said.

Meteo Belgique owner Xavier Lizin disputes the claim, noting that his company has a published legal disclaimer against responsibility for forecasts. In addition he says he plans to vacation along the Belgian coast this summer.

Still, Lippens is not alone in wanting to take action against weather stations. In the neighboring Netherlands, the Association of Recreation Entrepreneurs has also sought action against local weather forecasters. "We've seen them say, 'It's going to be a horrible summer,' when in reality, it was just one bad week," Bianca Fransen told NPR.

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