Weather sites ride heat wave

Weather Web sites in the UK saw traffic levels rise almost as fast as the mercury on Wednesday

With temperatures soaring into the mid-30s Celsius on Wednesday, the whole of the UK knew it was hot. Yet, it seems, many just had to double-check, and they turned to the Web to do so, acting as a reminder to Web site operators everywhere of just how much seasonal events can affect traffic online as well as off.

Weather Web sites in the UK saw traffic levels rise almost as fast as the mercury on Wednesday as they quenched people's thirst for information on just how hot the country was getting.

Australian online competitive intelligence service Hitwise reported that traffic to the BBC weather site increased by 50 percent since the start of the week, while traffic to weather.co.uk increased by 59 percent. BBC Weather was the 23rd most visited UK site on Wednesday, said Hitwise, and weather.co.uk increased its overall position on Hitwise's list of Britain's most popular Web sites by 14 places.

Just under 5 percent of BBC Weather's readers then visited the Met Office Web site, while 1.41 percent of traffic went to a BBC site about climate change  – evidence that Brits are really concerned about the effects of global warming, said Hitwise.

In terms of most popular search terms, Hitwise reports that the top three keywords were "weather", "BBC weather" and "weather forecast".