Next time you see brace yourself in a headline, maybe check Met Eireann first

COLM O'REGAN: Next time you see brace yourself in a headline, maybe check Met Eireann first

Bleurgh. The first proper manky weather of the winter is never nice. There’s a loss of innocence. October is all: “Oh heyyy I’m your crisp friend. Aren’t the leaves lovely?” and then when you’re at your most vulnerable, it changes. We should be ready but never are.

I blame the meeja to a certain extent. They act like winter is a surprise. There was a headline last week “RAIN AND FROST TO STRIKE IRELAND AS TEMPERATURES DROP TO ZERO.”

And further into the article “Ireland braces itself for its first real cold spell.” “STRIKE”? “braces itself”? Look I don’t blame the writer. They have to sell the story a bit, ‘sex up the dossier’ of the perfectly normal weather forecast. But, like, this is late October. This shouldn’t strike us. We shouldn’t have to brace.

I checked the Met Éireann website and they did not seem to share the alarm at the perfectly average late autumn weather. There was a yellow warning but otherwise no evidence of boffins running around throwing paper in the air in panic as they checked the horror that was being spat out of the Dot Matrix printer. “You’re going to want to see this Boss. It looks like …. rain.”

We are constantly alarming the weather. We have enough to be thinking about without being asked to brace ourselves for the most standard tenth month weather ever.

We don’t need warning for normal Irish weather. We have been bracing ourselves all our lives. We are a nation of scattered showers, an island where the rainfall radar picture looks like the hide-the-stains pattern on the seats on public transport. We’re aware of the passage of seasons and that the winter is a tad nippier than the summer.

There may come a time in future when we should brace ourselves for frost and rain ‘striking us’ in late October. Maybe when the ice is gone, the sea levels have risen 60 feet, Ireland is an archipelago and the capital has been moved to new hilltop city of Kildorrery.

Maybe then, water-based – as opposed to methane bombs – precipitation might be worth assuming the brace position for. Maybe then will we feel ‘struck’ by a strange white cold substance on what’s left of our lawns.

But, until two year’s time, let’s not get alarmed unless Evelyn Cusack is alarmed. Let’s not feed the beast unless it’s from the East. Next time you see your friendly national news-site telling you to brace yourself in a headline, maybe check the Met Eireann website first and see are they waiting for the Rapture.

And to those who say: “Look this is just the industry. It has to get your attention to the page so that it can sell advertising, it’s just a fact of life, we can’t change this”. I think we can. For years, in every spring and autumn in Ireland there was a tradition known as Ask The Spoofologist Weather Forecaster To Tell Us It’s Going To Be The Hottest/Coldest Summer/Winter In Living Memory.

And then the Donegal postman who watches the ferrets and foxes, or the total charlatan who fronts the nonsense long-range weather forecasting company that can’t be named because it’ll only give them attention, would come on and say that July will be hot enough to do a rotisserie in the Kia Sportage and Christmas will be whiter than a Trump rally. I haven’t seen them quoted here in a while.

They still do it in the UK tabloids but as Brexit has shown us, those newspapers are certifiably sociopathic. But we’ve stopped falling for that shite here. We once had a craving for exciting weather after 30 Years of Meh. Maybe after we actually got a hot summer and a load of snow we are kind of ‘Over It’.

Storms with names? Hurricanes who got lost? That’s worth getting the braces out for. But right now, it’s just plain old manky. And we’re definitely used to that.

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