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Weather Shambles in Ireland!? Can we handle the weather?

Weather Shambles in Ireland!? Can we handle the weather?

Before I start into this article, let me state – for the avoidance of any doubt – that neither the Irish government nor Irish Water can be made responsible for the weather. Irish politicians would probably love to lay claim to organising the most suitable weather for their constituents and Irish Water is never at fault about anything at all anyway, but we will have to let them off the hook regarding their weather responsibility. :-)

The question that I came across during the week does, however, have something to do with Irish authorities and with their ability (or not!) to forward plan and to do what we need them to do when it comes to weather challenges.

Weather is an important topic in Ireland! We love to talk about it and even more to complain about it. We don’t really have any weather extremes, but you wouldn’t know that if you listen to weather news or read just a normal newspaper.

Oddly, though, we seriously struggle as soon as something out of the ordinary (i.e. 13 degrees and scattered showers) happens. If we have 2 cm of snow, the country comes to a stand still. Traffic collapses, schools close and the country stops operating. On the other end: Give us around 20 degrees for a few weeks with no significant rain fall and we are (nearly) running out of drinking water.

Is this normal? Well, there are countries in Europe that regularly have significant snow fall and just keep going. And there are other countries where they know they will have hardly any drop of rain from Spring until end of Autumn and still, people will water their lawn and drinking water is plentifully available.

We claim that we are not used to it and therefore we struggle dealing with it. Hmmmm, Middle Europe (around Germany) had temperatures of above 35 degrees for well over a week and they are also not used to it, but life continues. Water is still there despite very little rain this year. Mallorca, Fuerteventura and the south of Spain (just to mention a few popular places) have no rain at all in the summer, but there doesn’t seem to be a hosepipe ban. And if we look at the other end of the year: Snow is never guaranteed in parts of Middle Europe. But if there is snow, then they deal with it and continue!

When will we start to prepare for increasing temperatures, lack of rain and occasional snow? The holes in the water pipes need to be plugged asap, we need more deep wells to get better water than surface water and we need to think about water desalination.

But what about winter time? We now do have salt and we have snow ploughs and still there is panic and mayhem. Do we need new rules? Make Winter tyres compulsory? Make it compulsory that house owners clean the footpath?

What do you think would fix the problems in summer and in winter?

Met Eireann are in panic…again!

Met Eireann are in panic…again!

Weather happens, no matter if we like it or not. But Met Eireann seems to be panicked easily and then panics the whole population.

Germany has very hot days and there are regularly VERY severe thunderstorms with dramatic lightning, torrential downpours and hailstones. I was there during the week and the newspapers reported from some locations in the northern half of Germany that had up to 150 litres of rain per square meter. With basements flooded, a shopping centre 1.5m under water etc. Serious stuff! But I never heard that there was an orange or red or yellow weather warning. And even if there had been one, it wouldn’t have stopped the weather.

In Ireland it is different, we have a weather warning. Then we panic and then nothing happens. Again and again and again. On Friday, Met Eireann issued a Status Orange weather warning for heavy rain in 16 counties of Ireland, including Dublin. A third of the torrential downpour from Germany (only 50mm) was expected and nothing happened (at least in Dublin.

Is it not time to overhaul and correct this silly weather warning system that we have at the moment? There is nothing wrong in forecasting bad weather but “crying Wolf” all the time and being totally wrong after an exaggerated warning is not helpful to anyone.

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