Monday 27 January 2020

'Leave it to the experts' - Cusack urges social media users to stop sharing fake forecasts

Annoyed: Evelyn Cusack hit out at people posting fake weather warnings. Picture: Damien Eagers
Annoyed: Evelyn Cusack hit out at people posting fake weather warnings. Picture: Damien Eagers
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

Met Éireann's Evelyn Cusack has criticised social media users for issuing fake weather reports as Storm Brendan threatened to wreak havoc on the country.

The head of forecasting has issued a request to people to stop tweeting fabricated weather reports.

She branded it extremely irresponsible and warned members of the public to beware of fake news.

She said that people had been putting out fake weather charts ahead of Storm Brendan reaching landmass.

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After giving RTÉ the latest on the storm's progress over Ireland yesterday, she diverted off-topic to make a personal appeal about people putting out misleading messages about the weather.

"I just want to say, could I ask people to stop tweeting fake weather warnings and fake weather charts," she said on Sean O'Rourke's show on RTÉ Radio 1.

"There's some really crazy stuff out there and it's very irresponsible.

"There's a whole lot of fake weather charts with red warnings on them and everything," she said.

"The Met Éireann warnings are out.

"We spent the last two days considering this very carefully," she added.

"We have a full team of people here with the best high resolution model."

Ms Cusack advised people to take the advice of the local authorities, gardaí and the coastguard when it comes to staying safe during weather events and not be misled by unofficial sources.

When asked by O'Rourke what she thought prompted members of the public to issue such bogus messages, she said that some clearly consider themselves as armchair experts.

"Maybe some people think they are better at forecasting (the weather) by looking out their window than the full team at Met Éireann.

"We run a 24/7 operation paid for by the citizens of Ireland," she said.

Clearly exasperated, she added that she found these fictitious social media reports to be "personally astounding", and she appealed for social media users to be more responsible.

Ms Cusack also warned about the band of thunderstorms that is moving eastwards and which may lead to more power outages.

She said that people who download the app can get any updated weather warnings as they happen. And people should only take their news from official sources, she added.

A status red gale warning was in place throughout the day as southerly winds reached storm force on all Irish coastal waters and on the Irish Sea, and violent storm-force winds were expected at times.

Nationally, there was a status orange wind warning with the worst of the weather expected to batter the country in the afternoon.

Irish Independent

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