Another BBC Weather geography fail

The sandstorm currently afflicting some areas of the Middle East received written and filmed coverage on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on September 8th and 9th.

Embedded in the written report is an additional filmed item from BBC Weather’s Louise Lear which was also promoted separately on the Middle East page under the heading “BBC Weather: Why a dust storm?” and appears on the BBC Weather website under the title “Dust storm hits Middle East“.Dust storm BBC Weather

At the beginning of that item Lear tells viewers:

“A significant sandstorm – or haboob as you may well know them – generated on Sunday in Iraq. It then travelled hundreds of thousands of miles westwards towards Syria and Lebanon…”

“Hundreds of thousands of miles”? According to Google Maps the driving distance from Baghdad to Beirut is 973 kilometers (605 miles). Even if one were to double or triple that distance to take into account the fact that the dust came from the desert regions of Iraq to the south-west and did not travel a linear route, one still could not accurately say that the sandstorm travelled “hundreds of thousands of miles” – i.e far more than the circumference of the entire planet.

Once again we see that Middle East geography is not a strong point at BBC Weather.

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