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Are there too many weather warnings?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,233 ✭✭✭sdanseo


    sumtings wrote: »
    What is the criteria of the right amount?

    We use these criteria:http://www.met.ie/nationalwarnings/warnings-explained.asp

    UK use a different assesment based on impact, which Met Éireann are meant to be switching to this year (according to nothing more than chatter on here, so not sure how true it is): https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/guide/weather/severe-weather-advice

    Honestly I think the UK underdid the red warnings, especially Scotland and Wales which still have communities completely cut off. That is high impact no matter how you wish to sugar coat it and should have been a red warning over a much larger area and for longer.

    Good visual indication
    579d2c398d1874497ed23eb430fc4e0b.png


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,130 ✭✭✭Rodin


    blanch152 wrote: »
    There is a choice. We could be like the UK and have thousands of people sleeping in their cars stranded, or thousands more stranded by last-minute cancellations of trains and buses.

    That resulted in people dying and going missing.

    Or we could have the people and safety first approach in Ireland. Really depends on what you want. I am much happier with the Irish approach, but it you are arguing for a different approach, you have to be prepared to accept the consequences. So if you think it was ok for people themselves to decide to head up the Sally Gap in T-shirts, then we don't need weather warnings at all.

    Orrrrrrrrrr, we could have warnings which are region specific.
    No-one is arguing that the weather was seriously bad in the southeast - it was unaffected in the northeast.
    I am simply arguing against the one weather alert fits all policy.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,496 ✭✭✭crossman47


    Rodin wrote: »
    Orrrrrrrrrr, we could have warnings which are region specific.

    We do but on this occasion it was decided, perhaps wrongly in hindsight that the red warning should cover the whole country. Anyway, as has been said, I prefer our safety first approach to that in the UK which has resulted in a number of deaths.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 777 ✭✭✭Skedaddle


    I do think the red alert for the NW was overkill. It was very justifiable in the south, midlands and east though.

    We need to avoid shutting down areas that are unaffected by things like this. Obviously you shouldn't travel in or through an area impacted but, it was totally unnecessary to issue a red warning for much of the northwest.

    We should always do it county by county. There's are only 26 of them.

    I actually find in general Met Éireann should issue more detail than Dublin, Leinster, Munster, Connacht. For example the weather in Cork City's greater area is often much, much milder than say parts of Northern Munster and that's a population of nearly 1/3 million people. Yet, there's a specific forecast for one city only?

    Makes no sense.

    I end up going to Yr.no to get Irish local forecasts which is ridiculous!


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,252 ✭✭✭greasepalm


    but weather can change direction and imagine a tornado hitting the ground and that moves in all directions,so i would think weather warning was best to be safe than sorry .


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  • Registered Users Posts: 18,105 ✭✭✭✭JCX BXC


    I think a big point being missed here is that Emma was moving slower and was consistently delayed on each of the models. While 4pm would have been somewhat conservative at the time the warning was issued, the landfall was delayed further until it arrived, so I shall use the phrase -"hindsight is a wonderful thing"


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,325 ✭✭✭✭M.T. Cranium


    Possibly an improvement for the warning system would be to take some of the larger counties and divide them into two or even three sub-regions. Cork would be a leading candidate. Galway and Mayo might benefit.

    Or allow wording such as "red alert for these counties, blah blah, Cork (south half)."

    I realize people would then be asking in some cases, am I in the south half? Perhaps there could be maps available showing what was exactly used to determine the boundaries.

    This still wouldn't be perfect (even if the forecasts were, another variable to be considered).

    But it might produce better confidence in the system.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 3,829 ✭✭✭Cork Boy 53


    Possibly an improvement for the warning system would be to take some of the larger counties and divide them into two or even three sub-regions. Cork would be a leading candidate. Galway and Mayo might benefit.

    Or allow wording such as "red alert for these counties, blah blah, Cork (south half)."

    I realize people would then be asking in some cases, am I in the south half? Perhaps there could be maps available showing what was exactly used to determine the boundaries.

    This still wouldn't be perfect (even if the forecasts were, another variable to be considered).

    But it might produce better confidence in the system.

    No matter what adjustments may be made to warning systems, there would always be a section of the population that would find fault with them. We Irish just love to complain no matter what the topic is.:(


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,034 ✭✭✭Elmer Blooker


    Its a complete joke that there is still an Orange Warning in operation.
    Do we really need to be told that there is still snow lying in places and snow is thawing? An ice and frost warning when the country is under a blanket of cloud is totally unnecessary. I'm not against weather warnings but did we even have half the amount of warnings in December 2010 as we do now? Maybe we did but I can't remember.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 6,521 Mod ✭✭✭✭Irish Steve


    The county or province boundaries are too disconnected from the areas that get different conditions because of the geography, but the problem with splitting the country into smaller zones is that the weather forecasts would become a nightmare, they'd be trying to squeeze 10 or 12 slightly different warnings or alerts into the limited slots that they are allocated by the media, it was bad enough when there were 2 reds, 2 orange and a yellow on the go, now imagine double or treble that, even if it was actually possible to refine the forecasts to cover smaller areas.

    That's also conveniently ignoring the elephant in the room, which is that the forecasts are not going to be that precise for some time to come, if ever, because the models even now don't have the depth of historic information to rely on when trying to arrive at their predictions, even though the computing power that can now be thrown at it is massive orders of magnitude better than it was even 10 years ago.

    Part of the problem is that there's too much water surrounding Ireland, and there are not enough fixed location reporting stations in the water to give a good picture of what's actually happening in the areas that we're really interested in, the Atlantic and the Bay of Biscay are the immediate preceding source of much of what happens here, even though the original source may be thousands of miles away.

    Hindsight is always 20/20, we need to face the fact that ME don't have the luxury of being able to get it badly wrong, so they have to be very careful to only commit to a forecast when they are confident of being able to stand over it. Yes, there will be differences, maybe of timing, maybe of precipitation types and quantities, maybe of wind speed, but in fairness to them, with recent events, they were right more than they were wrong, in terms of the significant events that were going to happen.

    As I mentioned yesterday, there's no way that any forecast can say with accuracy that a North Easterly wind carrying snow will dump on Howth, or the Airport, or Balbriggan, and a relatively minor change in wind direction will cause the Isle of Man streamer to move over an area that wide, while dumping a lot of snow on an area that's probably less than a mile wide. Forecasting WHERE that mile wide strip will be on a particular day at a particular time is just not going to happen, and it can't be ignored, in either respect, if you don't tell the affected corridor that it's coming, there will be problems, and if you do tell them you may be sure that there will be people subsequently complaining that their back yard didn't get the snow that was forecast. That's a no win scenario, so you end up having to give the warning that a section of the East Coast in North Leinster will get heavy snowfall, and live with the complaints from people who feel cheated, or took precautions that were not eventually needed.

    This recent event was managed at a government level in a much better way than any severe weather event that I've seen previously over a long period of time. It may not have been perfect, but it was a hell of a lot better than any previous snow event, and the result is that the death toll appears to have been lower than it might otherwise have been, and services in general seem to be recovering a lot quicker than they have on previous occasions. I am sure there will be a post event analysis, which should mean that future events of this nature will be dealt with in a better way. That sounds to me like a winning scenario, the relevant people may not agree with us about the changes we think should be made, but they will at least be aware of the concerns raised, and will at least look at those concerns, if they choose not to take them on board, there will be valid reasons for not doing so.

    And yes, the regulars here (forecasters and moderators) played a blinder, and we owe all of them a huge vote of thanks.

    I was wondering at one stage if we'd see the first 10000 message thread in under 24 hours, the posts were coming in so fast, it reached the point where it was impossible to read all the posts, they were arriving faster than it was possible to read them, even with the servers running well and on a fast internet line.

    I wonder how long it will be before we're doing it all again. Who knows, that's one of the things about weather, it is unpredictable, so it could be a week, it could be a year, it could be 10 years. What we do know is that it will happen, and when it does, this forum will once again take off.

    Shore, if it was easy, everybody would be doin it.😁



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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 191 ✭✭Casualsingby


    Possibly an improvement for the warning system would be to take some of the larger counties and divide them into two or even three sub-regions. Cork would be a leading candidate. Galway and Mayo might benefit.

    Or allow wording such as "red alert for these counties, blah blah, Cork (south half)."

    I realize people would then be asking in some cases, am I in the south half? Perhaps there could be maps available showing what was exactly used to determine the boundaries.

    This still wouldn't be perfect (even if the forecasts were, another variable to be considered).

    But it might produce better confidence in the system.

    Instead of doing that, there already is a much simpler method being used by the Met office. Like Ireland they have counties with large differences in terms of weather. They simply draw in the areas on the map where they expect the worst of it to be, county lines don't matter. Way way better than a blanket warning.

    Examples attached.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 191 ✭✭Casualsingby


    Red alert for daily maximum temperature at or below -2 needs to be reviewed. Are we really going to shut the country down for that if it occurred in December under dry conditions with no snow on the ground? Shutting the country down for only -2 during the day. Would be crazy.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,785 ✭✭✭piuswal


    Instead of doing that, there already is a much simpler method being used by the Met office. Like Ireland they have counties with large differences in terms of weather. They simply draw in the areas on the map where they expect the worst of it to be, county lines don't matter. Way way better than a blanket warning.

    Examples attached.

    This seems to be the way ME is going

    http://www.met.ie/UserMediaUpl/file/12_Future_Weather_Future_Chalenges_Gerry_Murphy.pdf

    While one can look at what UKMO does we need to remember the size of the UKMO vis a vis ME and the resources.

    From the above it looks as if ME are using an operational forecaster to work on a new warning system. It would suggest resource problems. However, as some has said, a review of recent events should lead the Gov to realise that more needs to be done and additional resources need to be provided.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,268 ✭✭✭Macy0161


    I don't think breaking it down within counties will necessarily work either - I mean Roundwood is North (or North East) Wicklow, but so is Bray and Greystones, so you'd be moving on to people having to know their height above sea level.

    While the map approach may be clearer, it clearly didn't work in the UK for this spell. Notwithstanding the issue of the North West being included, map rather than county or province then opens up expectations on people to travel from within a red warning area to work/ obligations out of the red warning area, and then you have the possibility of people being stuck.

    Someone mentioned 2010 - I don't recall there was the same system or same level of alerts. But I do remember people struggling into work and getting stuck for hours getting home, on the M50 never mind more mountainous areas. I think ME, and the emergency coordination group that it fed into, got it right this time (and Orphelia), with the only caveat possibly being the North West (but even then we saw track changes in reality to forecast very late - presumably could've accelerated/ moved further north than it did too).

    Happy enough with the Orange warning in place, as it might discourage some of the snow tourists from the affected areas that are still recovering, and my commute coming in, there was flooding/ pooling in random spots (places that wouldn't normally have that tendency).


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,286 ✭✭✭✭ednwireland


    people generally dont rely on Met Eireann weather forecasts in the north west anyway as they are pretty unreliable most people use a variety of apps anyway who need to know what the weather will be (thinking farmers and fisherman that I know) but the wont use met eireann.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 191 ✭✭Casualsingby


    piuswal wrote: »
    This seems to be the way ME is going

    http://www.met.ie/UserMediaUpl/file/12_Future_Weather_Future_Chalenges_Gerry_Murphy.pdf

    While one can look at what UKMO does we need to remember the size of the UKMO vis a vis ME and the resources.

    From the above it looks as if ME are using an operational forecaster to work on a new warning system. It would suggest resource problems. However, as some has said, a review of recent events should lead the Gov to realise that more needs to be done and additional resources need to be provided.

    That would be great.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 191 ✭✭Casualsingby


    Macy0161 wrote: »

    While the map approach may be clearer, it clearly didn't work in the UK for this spell. Notwithstanding the issue of the North West being included, map rather than county or province then opens up expectations on people to travel from within a red warning area to work/ obligations out of the red warning area, and then you have the possibility of people being stuck.

    Can you explain how it clearly didn't work in the UK for this spell? And you can you also explain how this wouldn't work for the North West? Makes no sense to me. Sure you could live in Sligo with a red warning and have an orange warning in a bordering county in the current set up. The map works better than blanket warnings and if you live within the red warning you simply don't travel so no chance of getting stuck. You're scenario of travelling with red warnings already exists if bordering counties have red and orange so that's not a reason to discount the map approach.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,454 ✭✭✭Charles Babbage


    Macy0161 wrote: »
    I don't think breaking it down within counties will necessarily work either - I mean Roundwood is North (or North East) Wicklow, but so is Bray and Greystones, so you'd be moving on to people having to know their height above sea level.

    While the map approach may be clearer, it clearly didn't work in the UK for this spell. Notwithstanding the issue of the North West being included, map rather than county or province then opens up expectations on people to travel from within a red warning area to work/ obligations out of the red warning area, and then you have the possibility of people being stuck.

    Someone mentioned 2010 - I don't recall there was the same system or same level of alerts. But I do remember people struggling into work and getting stuck for hours getting home, on the M50 never mind more mountainous areas. I think ME, and the emergency coordination group that it fed into, got it right this time (and Orphelia), with the only caveat possibly being the North West (but even then we saw track changes in reality to forecast very late - presumably could've accelerated/ moved further north than it did too).

    Happy enough with the Orange warning in place, as it might discourage some of the snow tourists from the affected areas that are still recovering, and my commute coming in, there was flooding/ pooling in random spots (places that wouldn't normally have that tendency).

    People should know their height above sea level as it has a big effect on Frost and snow at this time of year.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,852 ✭✭✭Steve F


    Well if you take into account that news stories are running now with headlines "Pest from the West" saying heavy rain and winds from the Atlantic then yes there is a certain amount of bigging up some weather stories(not the snowfall we had recently obviously)
    But surely this latest headline is just an excuse to invent a story that isn't really there??


  • Registered Users Posts: 32,634 ✭✭✭✭Graces7


    Writing as an pld, old lady with limited mobility etc I am thankful for the warnings. Old wise words it to travel at the pace of the weakest lamb. If you are big and strong and fit, fine...

    The advance warning of Emma gave many of us the chance to shop and stock up and get fuel in withour drama and in safety. Deeply grateful for all the warnings .

    So ignore them if you want?

    If we were not warned?

    And the way the snow was handled by the authorities here was excellent, compared with the UK, and will have saved lives.

    Well done met.ie


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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,430 ✭✭✭weisses


    Graces7 wrote: »
    Writing as an pld, old lady with limited mobility etc I am thankful for the warnings. Old wise words it to travel at the pace of the weakest lamb. If you are big and strong and fit, fine...

    The advance warning of Emma gave many of us the chance to shop and stock up and get fuel in withour drama and in safety. Deeply grateful for all the warnings .

    So ignore them if you want?

    If we were not warned?

    And the way the snow was handled by the authorities here was excellent, compared with the UK, and will have saved lives.

    Well done met.ie

    I think no one disagrees with being warned ..


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,732 ✭✭✭BarryD2


    Very strong gales and heavy rain in the south east today. As a weather event, easily on a par with the 'hurricane' a few months ago. Streams and rivers all in flood, lots of tree limbs down.

    Listened to Met Eireann forecast on radio, no mention of a weather warning of any colour! You'd have to laugh - I see a Yellow warning on the website but in terms of real effects, following the snowmelt and wet ground - this is considerably worse than many other warnings that have been rained down on us.

    Expect a bit of criticism from flooded people tomorrow.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,922 ✭✭✭spookwoman


    BarryD2 wrote: »
    Very strong gales and heavy rain in the south east today. As a weather event, easily on a par with the 'hurricane' a few months ago. Streams and rivers all in flood, lots of tree limbs down.

    Listened to Met Eireann forecast on radio, no mention of a weather warning of any colour! You'd have to laugh - I see a Yellow warning on the website but in terms of real effects, following the snowmelt and wet ground - this is considerably worse than many other warnings that have been rained down on us.

    Expect a bit of criticism from flooded people tomorrow.

    Heard very little as well. Knew there was some strong winds but that was it really. With snow it blocks you in but with flooding homes etc can be destroyed. As you said this is worse.
    Wind and rain isn't as good for hyping up as snow by the looks of it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,268 ✭✭✭Macy0161


    Can you explain how it clearly didn't work in the UK for this spell? And you can you also explain how this wouldn't work for the North West? Makes no sense to me. Sure you could live in Sligo with a red warning and have an orange warning in a bordering county in the current set up. The map works better than blanket warnings and if you live within the red warning you simply don't travel so no chance of getting stuck. You're scenario of travelling with red warnings already exists if bordering counties have red and orange so that's not a reason to discount the map approach.
    A significant number of people in the UK got stuck being out and about, in contrast to here where because of the approach taken, very few were stuck for 10plus hours in the red warning.

    I meant the issue with the North West was whether it should've been included in the warning, not regarding the mapping approach.

    I'm still not really convinced on the mapping approach - I've seen too many snow falls here in the mountains where even 20m asl has been the difference. And that difference is the difference (here) between disruption to the villages and bulk of population, and the main road being affected or not.


  • Registered Users Posts: 32,634 ✭✭✭✭Graces7


    spookwoman wrote: »
    Heard very little as well. Knew there was some strong winds but that was it really. With snow it blocks you in but with flooding homes etc can be destroyed. As you said this is worse.
    Wind and rain isn't as good for hyping up as snow by the looks of it.

    Yesterday came as a complete shock out here in West mayo as there was no warning of any kind for Connaught. It was bad here with gales and deluges


  • Registered Users Posts: 314 ✭✭NMB


    Graces7 wrote: »
    Yesterday came as a complete shock out here in West mayo as there was no warning of any kind for Connaught. It was bad here with gales and deluges

    Ah great to see you back you’re in mayo now fab ! You can really give an insight into all the mountain ranges and most beautiful parts of Ireland you have lived in. So missed your descriptive takes on outside your door and your photos. All the best. Hope when you post photos you share the photo location and take photos of all your animals happy in the weather. Never mind the quality sure it’s great to share. Thanks again !


  • Registered Users Posts: 32,634 ✭✭✭✭Graces7


    NMB wrote: »
    Ah great to see you back you’re in mayo now fab ! You can really give an insight into all the mountain ranges and most beautiful parts of Ireland you have lived in. So missed your descriptive takes on outside your door and your photos. All the best. Hope when you post photos you share the photo location and take photos of all your animals happy in the weather. Never mind the quality sure it’s great to share. Thanks again !

    For this kindness, thanks

    I have no photo capacity on chromebook and have no idea how to get photos off my cell phone...

    But am happy to be in West/North Mayo which was my first home when I first came to Ireland .

    Bitter cold this morning. That kind of invasive chill.

    Sorry to be offthread but just checked the phone photos I tool of the last snow and they are really excellent. Cannot fathom how to transfer them


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