Opinion Editorial

Saturday 23 June 2018

We ignore extreme weather at our peril

A sunken boat is seen half submerged after Storm Eleanor in Galway Bay. Photo: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
A sunken boat is seen half submerged after Storm Eleanor in Galway Bay. Photo: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Editorial

Editorial

Fear is supposed to be nature's warning system; when we ignore it we generally pay dearly, as we are beginning to learn with climate change. Concerns about potential risks from climate change have been dismissed, ignored or down-played to such extent that even when "exceptional weather events" become frequent, we are still caught off-guard.

In the wake of Storm Eleanor, Sean Hogan, chair of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group, has revealed the group will examine the alerts that were issued following complaints in Galway that people were not sufficiently notified of flooding. Despite a warning from Met Éireann of coastal flooding and high tides, the extent and speed of what happened caught many by surprise.

In a communications age, it has to be possible to develop a phone alert system to keep people up to date. Blame games achieve little. Whether an alert was red or orange may be of little consequence to someone whose business has been destroyed. We need to get effective, immediate and explicit warning systems in place.

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