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Dublin: 1 °C Wednesday 26 February, 2020
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'Dramatic' warnings, contradictory forecasts and irritating ads: Complaints sent to Met Éireann

Some people took offence to the language forecasters use and even their voices.

Image: nuala.carey via Instagram

COMPLAINTS SENT TO Met Éireann reveal that some people get so annoyed by the adverts around the weather and the sound of forecasters voices – that they turn off the weather forecast.

While the majority of complaints are about inaccurate forecasts and the website not being updated enough, some people took offence to the language forecasters use and even their voices.

Documents released to TheJournal.ie under a Freedom of Information request reveal that over an almost 11-month period, 52 complaints about weather forecasts were made to the forecaster between 1 January and 28 November 2017.

In one complaint dated 19 March, the person asks, “Must you show that advertisement which accompanies the current TV news?

It is the most irritating ad … I always rush to turn off the sound and avert my gaze for the duration of the ad. As a result, I sometimes miss part of the forecast. This is very frustrating.

“A new batch of ads is long overdue. The current ones are tired and stale and not up-to-date. I hope you will bear this in mind please and spare us those dreadful ads.”

The adverts aren’t the only thing causing people to miss the weather, one complainant said a forecaster’s voice caused them to turn off the radio.

shutterstock_230076031 Source: ARENA Creative via Shutterstock

They described the female forecasters voice as “whiney and high-pitched” even saying she was “not suitable for the airwaves”.

I don’t know who made the decision to give her this brief, but it should be rethought. I reach for the button to turn off the radio whenever I hear her. I find her voice objectionable.

‘Dramatic warnings’

One 24-year-old said they were “highly concerned” about a status yellow weather warning being issued as they believed it was dramatic.

The complaint, received on 2 March, was about a warning that was valid from 11am until 6pm on the same day. It read:

“Now I’m in Sligo it is not 6.30pm and I see NO RAIN OR DRIZZLE. In fact, the ground is bone dry and the birds are singing.

You are very dramatic and frightening old people with the wrong weather!! I am sick of expecting this terrible weather wind, rain, frost, snow etc … preparing then I see it ends up a beautiful summer’s day.

“If the weather is going to be clear then just say so and leave out the false drama … and stop making a yellow warning so dramatic when it’s not enough wind to blow the hat off your head.”

The language being used was mentioned a few times by those who complained. One person took issue with the word ‘miserable’ being used.

Complaint - weather Source: Met Eireann

“Today at 1300 in her weather report to the nation. She used the word MISERABLE. As I keep telling people whom use that word about the weather. THE WEATHER CANNOT EVER BE MISERABLE YOU’RE THE ONE WHOM IS MISERABLE. So can you please stop using this word in your forecasts.”

Another said “the wording of forecasts has become over-elaborate and confusing and is becoming harder to read and understand for non-meteorologists”.

They explained that it caused issues in their work, “We are broadcasting to crews, the majority of which do not speak English as their first language.

“Is it possible to simplify them? Most other countries, such as the UK, use a standard format which is easy to read and is recognised by mariners.”

shutterstock_223484449 Source: Federico Rostagno via Shutterstock

One person wanted to know why Leitrim doesn’t get a mention in forecasts:

“Why oh why on the weather bulletins on the television, and the forecasts on North West/ West Coast of Ireland is county Leitrim NEVER mentioned?

“It does exist, five miles maybe, but that part of the coast is DEFINITELY County Leitrim.”

In another, the person simply says:

Hi – why are all the storm names announced for this year so non-diverse?

Contradiction 

Complaints about inaccurate forecasts came up most frequently. One read, “I depend on forecasts for my work and, at times, the Met Éireann forecast can be very contradictory.”

They gave an example of two forecasts given at the same time with different outlooks.

The complainant claims that the Munster forecast stated: “Rain will ease to scattered outbreaks during the morning before becoming heavy and persistent again in the afternoon and evening.

“Then I turn to your national forecast issued at the same time and it states ‘a clearance will follow into Munster and south Leinster during the afternoon’.

Both the above were issued by yourselves, at the same time. This is frustrating when trying to plan work and I’m wondering why these contradictions occur from time to time.

shutterstock_210310216 File Photo Source: Olaf Naami via Shutterstock

Another complaint described how a couple were struggling to drive in Sligo due to the weather, which they claim they were not warned about.

My poor fiancée is trying to control the car through somewhat treacherous weather conditions that you have not advised us about.

“The wind has branches blown all the roads with electrical wires half down. Your poor comment towards this wind is appalling and a hazard to drivers having to travel. We have travelled through different warnings and this can be classified as an orange warning.

“I WILL be contacting headquarters via telephone tomorrow as this is something that needs to be addressed.”

shutterstock_546595351 Source: Evan El-Amin via Shutterstock

One complaint used the word “sad” to criticise the work of Met Éireann – perhaps inspired by American President Donald Trump who likes to use it at the end of tweets where he criticises the media or political opponents.

The complaint read:

Just wanted to let you know that it beggars believe how bad you lot actually are when it comes to even doing a 12-hour forecast. It’s sad.

Read: Just 16 beautiful Instagrams of Ireland covered in snow>

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