The controversial cancellation of National Ploughing Championships for a day in 2018 was one of Met Éireann meteorologist Evelyn Cusack’s toughest decisions to make in her 40-year career.
Cusack, who is retiring from her role as Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann, recalled how 2018 was a year with many major weather events.
“As the late Queen said that was the beginning of my ‘annus horribilis’ in weather terms, because it started off with Ophelia, then in February we had the Beast from the East, Storm Emma, in March,” she told RTE’s Morning Ireland.
“That was followed by a beautiful summer in 2018. We had a drought, and gorse fires, we were afraid Bray was going to burn down,” Evelyn recalled.
“Then we went to the Ploughing Championships in 2018. The first day [of the Ploughing] we issued status yellow warnings for wind,” she said. "I looked and thought oh, around 80-90km/h winds, a huge, tented village and 100,000 people."
She described the tough decision that had to be made in relation to Europe’s largest outdoor event and fraught discussions with the organisers.
“I had some very strong words with Mrs McHugh, we had to close down the Ploughing,” Cusack said.
“A lot of things were flattened and if we hadn’t made that decision it would have been very serious.”
Cusack first joined Met Éireann in September of 1981 and she intends to spend her retirement hillwalking and enjoying Ireland.
“But on a serious note Ireland has one of the highest skin cancer rates it should be part of our drill and especially children, slap on the factor 50,” she warned listeners.