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Met Éireann accuses media of over-sensationalising Storm Lorenzo

Donegal was one of the worst affected counties by Storm Lorenzo
Donegal was one of the worst affected counties by Storm Lorenzo

Met Éireann has accused the media of over-sensationalising the potential impact of Storm Lorenzo and contributing to the fear that some people already had in the run-up to the event.

The national weather forecasting service made the charge in responses to complaints from people who were unhappy with Met Éireann's warnings around the weather event at the start of last month.

In response to two separate complaints, Met Éireann's Customer Liaison Officer stated: "Met Éireann simply look at the weather and produce the warning.

"The fact that the media hyped up the low level warning, and in fact contributed to the fear some people already have, was unfortunately out of our control.

"We did contact many media outlets and ask them to remove their articles or provide accurate information, however the media over sensationalised the event."

The Met Éireann response continued: "We are looking at better ways of communicating our message, we as always endeavour to protect life and property, and we did provide warnings that were fitting for the event in most locations."

In another response, Met Éireann stated: "As always, we endeavour to monitor and forecast weather and issue warnings, with the safety of our citizens in mind.

"Yellow and Orange level warnings were reached in the majority of locations, however in some areas the weather was not as severe as expected."

In one complaint, a business owner told Met Éireann it should be ashamed of its performance as a credible source of weather forecasting around 'Storm Lorenzo'.

"As a business owner whose ability to trade is weather dependent I am appalled at the rapidly increasing tendency of Met Éireann to be part of the media feeding frenzy surrounding any weather event that comes Ireland's way."

The complaint continued: "I fully respect the necessity to inform the public of potential dangers and the fact that you are dealing with nature but you should be much more accurate, much less dramatic."

In a Freedom of Information request by journalist Gordon Deegan, Met Éireann said it received four complaints concerning its forecasting in relation to Storm Lorenzo.

The services's FOI unit stated that comments that could be considered complaints on the service's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms are available on those platforms.

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