One of the big changes to forecasting in recent years was the introduction of the colour coded weather warnings.
The now well-known yellow, orange and red warnings are meant to signify differing levels of risk to society as a whole from weather events.
For farmers, the yellow warnings are generally little more than just bad days, but they can express a greater risk to those who are at sea.
Orange and red warnings present real risks to life and property.
One other aspect of the warning systems is that they have not always been accurate at a local level.
Sometimes they bring weather that is worse than forecast, other times things were not so bad.
For those caught in the worst of the extreme weather, those warnings may well help to reduce risk to life and property. It is still better to have taken all possible precautions to safeguard life, property and stock, than to get caught out by such extremes.
Met Éireann defines the different warning categories as follows:
Details of any current weather warnings can be found on the Met Éireann website and apps. They are clearly marked at the top of the screen when in place.
If your business is always affected by adverse weather conditions, you, or any member of the public, can subscribe to receive push notifications of any warnings from the Met Éireann app on your smartphone.
A user can select the area, level of warning and type of warning they wish to be notified about.
Check out the weather warning alert services on the website or My Warnings on the app.
For many people, the weather forecast had traditionally been delivered by radio, television and newspapers. Nowadays, almost everyone can have several apps on their smartphone and the bigger decision is which one to believe, as they generally vary somewhat.
Forecast on a podcast
Another option available to people to receive Met Éireann forecasts is to listen to them. This new daily audio weather forecast is now available as a podcast recorded by Met Éireann forecasters. Just search for “Weather Forecast from Met Éireann” on your podcast player, which is now available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and more.
The audio forecast is updated three times daily, at approximately 6am, 1pm and 6pm. It gives a detailed weather forecast for today and tonight, the outlook for the week ahead and details on any weather warnings issued.
As well as the audio forecast, there are additional meteorologist’s commentaries when there is significant bad weather ahead.
This describes the situation that is emerging, the potential impacts of that weather, and how to prepare for it to reduce risk to people and property. This can be found at https://www.met.ie/forecasts/meteorologists-commentary.
For those who are set to travel abroad, or who just want to keep an eye on what is happening in other European countries, you can check out bad weather forecasts or MeteoAlarms on the map at .
Just click on the map to get more detail about the level of warning and its potential impacts in that country.
For those requiring very specific information, Met Éireann offer a paid Telephone Consultancy Service (TCS). This enables customers to have direct telephone access to the Duty Forecaster in Glasnevin. This could be very useful where occasional precise forecasting is important. For this service call 01-8064244.
The farming community will be aware of Met Éireann’s daily briefings for farmers, based on conditions over the past seven days, for precipitation, air and soil temperature, sunshine, spraying conditions and soil moisture deficit.
The webpage shows recent measurements and the difference from normal for the time of year.
Readers will be familiar with these graphics in the Irish Farmers Journal.
Farmers will also be very aware of the RTÉ Farm Forecast on Sundays. This provides the forecast and outlook for the week ahead, along with grass growth measurements and the forecast for grass growth for the week ahead.
This information is provided by Teagasc, who use Met Éireann weather data to drive their grass-growth model.
As well as just getting a ‘forecast’, anyone can access information from a number of the tools that Met Éireann use to monitor weather progress.
Many of these are on the app, as well as the website, and include things like station observations ( https://www.met.ie/latest-reports/observations), radar images which are updated every hour, satellite images which use visible and infrared technology, (https://www.met.ie/latest-reports/satellites) and radar and satellite combined (https://www.met.ie/latest-reports/satellites/ireland-infrared-radar).
As a simple guideline, climate is historic and weather is what we have now or are going to have. Met Éireann provide many very useful climate tools and the monthly weather summaries are very useful to compare measurements between recent years and the 30-year average. This information, plus much more, can be found by clicking the Climate button at the top of the Met Éireann website.
Written summary reports for each month and season are also available in the past weather statements section of the Met Éireann website.
These can be a very useful reference if one is trying to remember a particular weather event from the past. They could also be helpful in explaining past events or give a possible insight into how a current season may unfold.