Saturday 7 December 2019

'What next? Naming raindrops? It's ridiculous' - Channel 4 weather presenter criticises Met Eireann for naming Storm Fionn

Weather presenter Liam Dutton. PIC: Channel 4
Weather presenter Liam Dutton. PIC: Channel 4
Liam Dutton of Channel 4 news
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

The country may be feeling the effects of Storm Fionn, but a Channel 4 weather presenter has criticised Met Eireann for for naming it a storm at all.

Liam Dutton took to Twitter to argue that it is not, in fact, a storm, but a "squeeze in the isobars".

"#StormFionn that has been named by @MetEireann shouldn’t have been named. It needs no more than a standard weather warning. It’s not even a low pressure with a storm centre, just a squeeze in the isobars. What next? Naming raindrops? It’s ridiculous!"

He preceded this tweet with another questioning how Met Eireann and the Met Office in the UK can work together on naming storms when they use "different criteria" to assess weather systems.

"This is the problem with the storm naming system," he wrote.

"The Irish Met Office, @MetEireann, have different (lower) criteria that are numerically driven, compared to the @metoffice’s impact-based criteria. How can something be a joint initiative when each use different criteria?!"

Met Eireann and the Met Office revealed their Winter Storm names for 2017-2018 in September.  The names are chosen by duty forecasters in Met Eireann and in the Met Office.

The criteria for a storm being named are: "A wind storm with potential for significant land-based impact has been forecasted.

"A severe wind event giving rise to status Orange or status Red weather warnings.

"Consideration will also be given to rain and snow events."

The list alternates between the genders and this order will change each year.

Fionn is the sixth named storm of the season but the Met Office has pointed out that the impacts are expected to be lower than the warning limits in the UK.

Dutton went on to claim that Met Eireann has not used storm naming "sensibly" despite the fact that Ireland has experienced snow, rain, and strong winds and coastal flooding as well as gusts of between 90 and 110 km/h have been forecast for today.

"Storm naming is a useful tool, providing it is used sensibly," he wrote on Twitter.

"Yesterday, it wasn’t. 80mph wind gusts on a very exposed western coast aren’t representative of what nearly all of Ireland experienced. Just like it would be silly naming a storm because of an 80mph gust on a mountain."

On Tuesday Met Eireann issued a Status Orange and three Status Yellow warnings across the country while gusts of 137km were reported.  There was also a snow-ice warning issued and a high flood risk along the Atlantic coast.

A further Status Yellow wind warning issued for Wednesday and Thursday even though Fionn has passed over Ireland.

Here's what Evelyn Cusack has to say about Channel 4 weather presenter's criticism of Storm Fionn naming 

Read more: Here's how Met Eireann produce weather forecasts - and what it's like to declare a Red Alert 

Revealed: This year's winter storm names, did yours make the list? 

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