herald

Saturday 7 December 2019

'Storm Lorenzo panic was media's fault' - Met Eireann

Storm Lorenzo touches down at Dun Laoghaire
Storm Lorenzo touches down at Dun Laoghaire

Met Eireann has accused the media of "alarmist" commentary on the potential impact of Storm Lorenzo last month.

The forecaster made the charge in response to complaints from people who were unhappy with its warnings about the storm.

Replying to two separate complaints, Met Eireann's customer liaison officer said: "Met Eireann simply look at the weather and produce the warning.

Fear

"The fact the media hyped up the low-level warning, and in fact contributed to the fear some people already have, was unfortunately out of our control.

"We did contact many media outlets to ask them to remove articles or provide accurate information. However, the media over-sensationalised the event.

"We are looking at better ways of communicating our message."

However, they insisted: "We did provide warnings that were fitting for the event in most locations."

In advance of the arrival of Storm Lorenzo, Met Eireann issued an orange wind warning - the second highest level - for western coastal counties and a yellow warning for the remainder of the country.

Gusts of up to 130kmph were predicted and head of forecasting Evelyn Cusack warned "there could be trees down anywhere".

She also said storm surges could cause coastal flooding and damage.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy convened the National Emergency Co-ordination Group and said storm surges could be "ferocious".

One of the Met Eireann replies blaming the media came in response to a complaint from a business owner who said the forecaster "should be ashamed" of its performance "as a credible source of weather forecasting ".

They said they were "appalled at the rapidly increasing tendency of Met Eireann to be part of the media feeding-frenzy".

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