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'We're nearly there': Met Éireann set to include Northern Ireland on its weather warning maps

The final technical issues are currently being ironed out, said Met Éireann’s head of forecasting Evelyn Cusack.

MET ÉIREANN PLANS to display Northern Ireland on its weather warning maps after two years of trying to incorporate the six counties. 

Met Éireann’s head of forecasting Evelyn Cusack told TheJournal.ie that since she took over her role in March 2018 she has been aiming to incorporate the North in Met Éireann’s weather warnings and that the final technical issues are currently being ironed out.

“We’re nearly there,” said Cusack, adding that information for Northern Ireland appearing on Met Éireann will be directly linked with the UK Met Office, which issues weather warnings for Northern Ireland and will continue to do so. 

Currently when Met Éireann issues a weather warning – Status Yellow, Orange or Red – the affected counties in the Republic appear in that colour but Northern Ireland is left grey. 

image (3) Proposal to the UK Met Office for new map display. Source: Met Éireann

In February, Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile said Met Éireann was ignoring the weather in Northern Ireland and accused the meteorological service of taking a partitionist approach. 

He said “weather knows no borders; neither should strategies that are meant to be about communicating the very real dangers posed by emergency weather situations”.

Cusack first proposed displaying Northern Ireland weather warnings to the UK Met Office last September. 

“One of the most important functions of any National Meteorological Service (NMS) is the issue of weather warnings,” she said in a document seen by TheJournal.ie

“The core rationale for issuing weather warnings is to protect lives…and to mitigate damage to property and disturbance to economic activity at times of severe weather,” she added. 

The primary reason Met Éireann proposes displaying weather warnings issued by the UK Met Office for Northern Ireland is to ensure the safety of citizens who travel across the border for work or other activities, Cusack explained. 

Since it was founded in 1937, the Irish Meteorological Service has provided weather forecasts for all of Ireland (32 counties).

Currently, weather forecasts for over 300 locations in Northern Ireland can be searched on met.ie. 

In a proposal to the UK Met Office, Cusack said: “It would be very unusual if not unique for one National Meteorological Service (NMS) to display the warnings issued by another NMS but Met Éireann is proposing this for citizen safety and societal wellbeing.”

Cusack said Met Éireann plans to display weather warnings issued by the UK Met Office for Northern Ireland on its app and on met.ie for the following reasons:

  • To ensure that citizens who travel across the border for work or other activities are briefed with the latest warnings and are prepared for Yellow/Orange-Amber/Red weather events
  • To alert emergency services/utilities that their services/assistance may be required cross-border
  • To promote met.ie in Northern Ireland and the UK as a single site for weather information for the Island of Ireland

Under Met Éireann’s plans, Status Orange weather warnings will be referred to as Amber for Northern Ireland in line with the color coding used by the UK Met Office.

Cusack said that she aims to have Northern Ireland warnings issued by the UK Met Office included on Met Éireann by the summer. 

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