herald

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Storm of protest after barbecues banjaxed by 'careless' forecasting

Umbrellas didn’t last very long when wind and rain swept O’Connell Street – forecast or not. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Umbrellas didn’t last very long when wind and rain swept O’Connell Street – forecast or not. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Weather forecasts received a very chilly reception from people annoyed at having to cancel golf matches and barbecues over the past 12 months.

Correspondence received by Met Eireann shows the types of complaints sent to the national forecaster.

"Everyone I talk to says the same: you are better off waking up in the morning and looking out the window," said one disgruntled correspondent.

Another woman complained about the "incorrect" weather forecast for Clontarf East, which she said was billed as wet on the app.

She had arranged to play golf with her clubmates, but they called off the game.

When the rain failed to materialise, she sent a complaint to Met Eireann, saying: "My one free day of the week has been ruined."

Lazy

Another complainant asked that presenters on radio and TV stop using the word "unsettled" to describe the weather.

"You could call it wet weather, or bad drying weather or umbrella weather, or 'You can't see out of the bus because all the windows are steamed up' weather, but it's not 'unsettled'. That is a lazy and unprofessional term," the email said.

"You should try to do better in describing the weather."

Another person took issue with storms being named after people.

"For obvious reasons, people do not want potentially catastrophic storms named after them, where people are killed or injured," they said.

"People in power, like monarchs, get pleasant things named after them, like ships, buildings or concert halls. Why should we ordinary people get potentially lethal storms named after us, which could stay with us for the rest of their lives?"

Someone in the west wrote to complain about "careless forecasting".

"This is not all about Dublin and the east of the country, just because yer based there," they wrote.

A Dubliner wrote: "Having been in touch via email only two weeks ago to query why you can't seem to get a forecast correct, you people yet again amaze me.

"Did you not forecast today (Saturday) the entire east coast from the south to the north would witness huge rainfall?

"Again I left the house in Drumcondra dressed for winter only to discover once again you got it wrong."

One person complained that weather warnings were preventing people going outside and affecting businesses.

Heartbroken

"Due to your urgent warnings, sales in Cork city have dropped," the correspondent said in the letter written last April 26.

A granny in Athy, Co Kildare, wrote in to say she had planned a barbecue which had to be abandoned because it was cool with a stiff breeze.

"My granddaughter is heartbroken," she complained.

A response from Met Eireann said that it had "an obligation to inform all people of the weather they are likely to encounter and we issue warnings on a severity basis to aid the public in their decision making".

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