Terry Prone: How did they manage to get it so wrong?

Terry Prone

We expect them to get it wrong now and again.

We make allowances.

But, this morning, yanking the curtains apart in bedrooms in Dublin, we made no allowances.

We'd expected Met Eireann to get it right.

We NEEDED Met Eireann to get it right because of delivering children to childminders and to schools and getting ourselves to work.

We'd been told the snow was over, the East Coast was done with its 15 minutes of Antarctic fame, that was it, end of snow story.

We'd believed what we were told.

And then, we found ourselves looking at four or five inches of the stuff.

We stood there, swearing softly. Knowing the kids would be delighted. Again.

But we were decidedly NOT delighted. We'd had enough of it, had been told it was over and had planned around its absence.

In Skerries, Donabate and other parts of the city and county, the ground may have been white, but the air was blue as adults swore at the Met Office. Normally, the Met Office is not high on our agenda.

We like them coming on the radio talking about cold fronts and depressions in the Atlantic, although we prefer the depressions to stay in the Atlantic.

But -- due to circumstances seriously beyond our control -- we're quick to anger, these days, and Dublin got very angry at the Met Office this morning.

How, we asked, could they get it SO bloody wrong?

They were confident when they raised our expectations and dashed the expectations of our children.

Although it would be very cold, they told us, we'd be looking at a thaw around Wednesday. (Which, to give them their due, may still happen.)

We natives downgrade our knowledge because we know we have weird microclimates and scientists describe that as "anecdotal evidence" and anecdotal evidence doesn't count.


Not when you have high-tech gadgetry to right and left. Not when you have satellite photographs of every cloud and computer technology to tell you the significance of that cloud.

Not when guys like Gerald Fleming are almost personal friends who come on radio and TV and explain complicated stuff with the zest of people who are not only good at what they do but clearly LIKE doing what they do.

Yet, this morning, a huge area of wider Dublin wasn't just blanketed in snow, it was as if several duvets' worth had been dropped on our area, forcing many to work from home and causing others to have to abandon their plans for the entire family.

We wondered how the hell they could have got it so wrong.

A few months ago, one of the Met women was seriously bemused by an amateur weather prophet in a radio encounter.

This amateur was one of those guys who predicts weather based on the spots on his banana skins, the direction the sheep face on a particular mountain, and how neurotic his goldfish are on any given day.

We love those guys, and so we were quite upset when the Met Eireann woman kept trumpeting the triumph of science over the guy reading the 'signs'.

She was The Expert. He was The Amateur. He couldn't have been more squashed if she'd run a Jeep over him. Where was that amateur when we needed him in the past 24 hours?