Met Éireann: We can sometimes 'overdo' weather warnings

Met Éireann: We can sometimes 'overdo' weather warnings

A spokesman for Met Éireann has admitted they sometimes "overdo it" in order to err of the side of caution when it comes to issuing coded weather warnings.

The comments came after people in Limerick -- who woke up this morning to normal conditions for this time of year -- flooded phone lines at local radio station Live 95FM, demanding to know why Met Éireann had put Limerick on a Red Status weather alert the previous day.

"We err on the side of caution," Pat Clarke, meteorologist with Met Éireann, told the programme this morning.

"Sometimes we overdo it. That's just the way it is. You have to err on the side of caution with these matters."

The Red Status warning led to the closure of schools across the city and county.

The Department of Education, acting on the weather warning, advised schools to consider closing as a precautionary measure.

However, this morning, Limerick City and County Council issued a statement that, "no significant incidents have been reported as a result of Storm Rachel", and that "no emergency calls were received".

However, a man was taken to hospital after a tree hit the jeep he was driving last night near Anglesborough in Co Limerick.

Mr Clarke was responding to questions from presenter of the 'Limerick Today' radio programme Joe Nash, who remarked that, he had often gone to work without any weather warnings issued despite there been far worse weather than experienced overnight and this morning in Limerick.

Mr Clarke said: "Well, when you are dealing with life and limb, and when your (weather) models are telling you the winds are going to be a certain value, you're better off to err on the side of caution, than take the opposite view.

"So, based on the information we had last night, we extended the 'Red' warning from the North and Northwest further down the West coast, to include Munster counties.

"And, parts of Cork and Kerry did get some red values last night, but Limerick city didn't."

Mr Clarke said, despite the weather warning for the county, Limerick had led a "charmed life" compared to areas further south and in the west.

The Red alert for Limerick has since been downgraded to Orange with Southwest winds expected to reach mean speeds of 65 to 80 km/h with gusts of 110 to 120 km/h at times, highest in exposed areas.

Mr Clarke said Ireland was lucky to escape a series of tornados that were created out of Storm Rachel which hit parts of England.

"Storms don't hit equally everywhere," he said.

"For example, when (Storm Rachel) moved in over the southwest of England, it generated a whole load of tornados and we were lucky not to get those during the night.

"They missed us and affected England. Equally the winds are not always the same values everywhere, it depends on location, and whether it's exposed."


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