‘Terrible weather (forecasting). Isn’t it?’

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Inaccurate forecasting, an urban focus and weather warnings are among the most frequent causes of complaints from members of the public to Met Éireann.

Transcripts of complaints sent to the national forecaster reveal a huge range of issues were raised in 2019, including frustrated members of the public who think there are too many – or too few – colour-coded weather warnings.

The forecaster was described as the boy who cried wolf. There were claims that the weather warnings are issued so frequently that people simply don’t pay them any attention.

There was also a number of complaints about the accuracy of forecasting, with some – including cyclists and hikers – claiming they can no longer rely on Met Éireann’s forecasts when planning days out.

Some pointed to Norwegian and Canadian broadcasters as being more accurate, while others said local and amateur forecasters provide more detailed forecasting on social media channels.

Overall, Met Éireann received just over 300 complaints through met.ie, its app or email. It was a significant drop from 2018 when nearly 700 were received. Some simply criticised the frequency of weather warnings.

One said: “The general populous only hear ‘warning’, not yellow, green or amber. You are putting lives at risk and damaging businesses by issuing these fictitious warnings as people will not heed the serious warnings in the future.”

Another said that the forecasting was too vague.

“It appears to me that anyone could predict the weather in Ireland. Sunshine, showers, wind. When are you going to give a detailed account of what is going to happen, instead of what has happened?”

In early October, when Storm Lorenzo was forecast to hit Ireland and didn’t, people vented their frustration.

“I’m sick of weather warnings, making people afraid and very often it doesn’t even materialise,” said one complaint.

“Not for the first time your alarming forecasts have not materialized and you have panicked people into unnecessary precautions. I am a taxi driver in Shannon and my takings are down about €150 for tonight. You have overreacted again. Tonight is a normal pleasant October evening and it’s not right that you continue to make huge drama over a non-event,” said another.

The naming of the storms was also a frequent topic.

On December 8, 2019, one person complained about the name of Storm Atiyah. The storms for 2019/20 were named in conjunction with the Dutch and UK meteorological offices.

The complaint read: “What kind of name is Atiyah for a storm around Ireland? We’re not Lebanon. We are Ireland. GO RAIBH MAITH AGAT!!! Cop yourselves on with the names.”

Another simply implored Met Éireann to stop naming the storms entirely as nobody would want their name associated with potentially tragic conditions.

There was one much happier correspondence in March, though: “Just wanted to say thanks for naming the storm Gareth as it is my name and you named it on my birthday. Best present ever.”



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