Met Eireann have issued their Winter Ready campaign looking at weather, flooding, older people, schools and other areas such as health. Met Eireann (the Irish Met service) and the UK Met Office have worked closely over recent years in the Name our Storms project, to raise awareness of incoming severe weather across Great Britain and Ireland. Some Irish newspapers have had headlines, after the launch on Nov 7th 2018, of heavy snow for this winter. That's not what Evelyn Cusack, head of forecasting said but when did that stop certain media outlets. Then others whom you might have hoped would do better, just copying and pasting the incorrect story. Disappointing churnalism.
What she did say, as a forecaster:
"There is a chance of more snow even though the climate is warming up and that’s because there’s more moisture in the atmosphere. There’s more evaporation because of the higher sea temperatures and then in winter, instead of rain, it turns to snow. So in fact, snow events could be heavier." Evelyn Cusack
For winter 2018/19 maybe it will snow lots, maybe it won't. Perhaps there will be a mix like our winter's often brings. Head of forecasting for Ireland is not saying you will get a load of snow at your house and a white Christmas. Not yet anyway. Our weather is set to see more severe and extreme events, heavy rain and flooding or potentially heavier snowfalls when they occur. The headlines may have brought some attention to the actual campaign but I would imagine there will be plenty of comments along the lines of " Oh, did you hear we are going to have a bad winter!" "Those weather people say we are going to get lots of snow this winter"
As our climate changes, we see more official information or suggestions about communities making their own preparations. This appeared in the drought and heatwave conditions of last summer and again "YOU, YOUR COMMUNITY AND THE WINTER". Some of this may be dismissed as Nanny State - make sure you have well-fitting shoes with non-slip soles in icy conditions. That could be advice to some women every Friday night in December. But listening to the forecast and getting prescriptions in before snowfall, what if the power goes off or reminders about flooded roads are very useful each season.
Also looking at what the levels of weather warnings mean; Met Eireann are moving away from the numerical category of warnings, say gusts over 50mph = yellow wind warning, 40mm of rain in an hour a rain warning. There are now mentions of impacts driving the warnings, although they now include Be aware, Be prepared and Take Action which the UK Met Office dropped recently, when reviewing their longer standing impact based warning system.
I'm glad to see "Watch weather reports after the TV news bulletins" is still included in Be Winter Ready. A weather app can give some indication but not the impacts or explain any uncertainty. And of course, we'll keep you uptodate here at Netweather. The Winter forecast is due out next week.