The lasting value of that sliver of wisdom packaged as a proverb — “Ní hé lá na gaoithe lá na scolb” (The windy day isn’t the day for thatching) — was shown again when the impossible-to-miss warnings of the recent dire and dangerous weather, and a lot of snow, were vindicated.
The country was on high alert and a lot of people took precautionary action. Schools were closed, people stayed home from work, and even if these measures led to some derision, it greatly reduced the risk factor. We were told what to expect and acted accordingly, so damage was kept to a minimum.
A survey published yesterday shows that a great majority of people — 90%— accept that the red-weather alert, issued before and during Storm Emma, was justified. Leaving aside the fact that this is an almost unprecedented satisfaction rating for a public service, it meant only 7% of those surveyed said damage caused by Emma cost more than €500. The public now has faith in the weather-warning system and everything must be done to ensure that faith is not damaged.
The survey was a recognition of services rendered, but one finding points to services yet to be rendered. Some 78% believe that, due to climate changes, adverse weather will become more likely, confirming, again, that the public’s understanding of climate change is not matched by government action — which means we may have to try to, despite myriad warnings, to thatch the roof on a stormy day.