Kildare Opinion: Weather warnings are great but they aren't what they used to be

Paul O'Meara gives his view

Paul O'Meara

Reporter:

Paul O'Meara

Email:

paul@leinsterleader.ie

Kildare Opinion: Weather warnings are great but they aren't what they used to be

A tree that fell down during a storm in October in Morrell Dale, Naas

Back in the days of the music halls, it would have been known as bit of slap and tickle.

You might as well admit what you like is a bit of titillation, of the strictly legal variety, of course.

The Carry On films provided it for us in the 1960s and 70s.

And more recently, weather updates have replaced property news reports as the most acceptable version of soft porn.

In the heady days of Ireland’s Celtic Tiger economy property prices rocketed and the newspaper property supplements bulged with news of houses and apartments for sale.

How we loved checking out the values, and great was the excitement as it seemed the prices were headed in one direction only.

The recession has dampened the moon, and as property turned toxic we sent ourselves to the weather news.

It suited the darkening mood.

Good weather never gets much attention.

We want to hear about ice, frost, storms, hurricanes and floods.

We want to know that the river Shannon has burst its banks and, sweeping all before it, the water is headed towards County Kildare and before we know it the Curragh plains will be submerged.

It’s not too long ago since there only extreme weather events made the headlines — like Hurricane Matthew which devastated Haiti in 2016, leaving one of the poorest nations on earth with 600 fatalities and God know how much damage.

Or Hurricane Katrina, further back in 2005, which left maybe 1,500 dead and billions of dollars worth of reconstruction bills.

These days, the weather authorities report less significant weather events with warnings attached.

Storms are an obvious fact of life in winter and didn’t always have warnings which hit the headline.

But whatever about warnings, the naming of storms is providing us with some wonderful entertainment.

It was hard enough to remember the names of the hurricanes without the storms being added.

Between the storms and hurricanes, it seems that we’ve been getting hit almost every week. Sometimes they interchange. Hurricane Ophelia revved up fairly mightily somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean on October 9 and we had the fingernails bitten off ourselves while we awaited its coming.

Alas, by the time it arrived in Co. Kerry, it was an ex-hurricane and it finished up as a storm.

There is little wrong with Met Eireann and the UK’s Met Office collaborating to provide us with more information about the weather and weather systems. They have the technology and they sure as hell are going to use it.

And at least we know what's coming. Many weather reports save lives.

Likewise, there was once a straightforward weather warning when weather looked like it was about to take a bad turn.

Now they come in three versions, one more scarier than the next and they are helpfully colour coded.

Status Red means stay in bed for the day.

Last September the weather authorities issued the names for the storms that might befall us this season.

No sooner had they been named than the first, Aileen, arrived.

It was followed by Ophelia, then Brian.

We’ve had eight so far, the latest being Storm Georgina.

If another comes it’ll be Hector and the weather services have names in place for another dozen or more.

Let’s hope we don’t get them or at least get them all.

Because if we do the weather authorities — and they do a sterling job forecasting what’s about to arrive on any given day — might start naming other less worrisome weather events to slake our thirst for weather news an dour search for things to worry about. And our weather reports will feature items about Drizzle David, Soft Day Sally and Mild Weather Mabel.

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Back in the days of the music halls, it would have been known as bit of slap and tickle.

You might as well admit what you like is a bit of titillation, of the strictly legal variety, of course.

The Carry On films provided it for us in the 1960s and 70s.

And more recently, weather updates have replaced property news reports as the most acceptable version of soft porn.

In the heady days of Ireland’s Celtic Tiger economy property prices rocketed and the newspaper property supplements bulged with news of houses and apartments for sale.

How we loved checking out the values, and great was the excitement as it seemed the prices were headed in one direction only.

The recession has dampened the moon, and as property turned toxic we sent ourselves to the weather news.

It suited the darkening mood.

Good weather never gets much attention.

We want to hear about ice, frost, storms, hurricanes and floods.

We want to know that the river Shannon has burst its banks and, sweeping all before it, the water is headed towards County Kildare and before we know it the Curragh plains will be submerged.

It’s not too long ago since there only extreme weather events made the headlines — like Hurricane Matthew which devastated Haiti in 2016, leaving one of the poorest nations on earth with 600 fatalities and God know how much damage.

Or Hurricane Katrina, further back in 2005, which left maybe 1,500 dead and billions of dollars worth of reconstruction bills.

These days, the weather authorities report less significant weather events with warnings attached.

Storms are an obvious fact of life in winter and didn’t always have warnings which hit the headline.

But whatever about warnings, the naming of storms is providing us with some wonderful entertainment.

It was hard enough to remember the names of the hurricanes without the storms being added.

Between the storms and hurricanes, it seems that we’ve been getting hit almost every week. Sometimes they interchange. Hurricane Ophelia revved up fairly mightily somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean on October 9 and we had the fingernails bitten off ourselves while we awaited its coming.

Alas, by the time it arrived in Co. Kerry, it was an ex-hurricane and it finished up as a storm.

There is little wrong with Met Eireann and the UK’s Met Office collaborating to provide us with more information about the weather and weather systems. They have the technology and they sure as hell are going to use it.

And at least we know what's coming. Many weather reports save lives.

Likewise, there was once a straightforward weather warning when weather looked like it was about to take a bad turn.

Now they come in three versions, one more scarier than the next and they are helpfully colour coded.

Status Red means stay in bed for the day.

Last September the weather authorities issued the names for the storms that might befall us this season.

No sooner had they been named than the first, Aileen, arrived.

It was followed by Ophelia, then Brian.

We’ve had eight so far, the latest being Storm Georgina.

If another comes it’ll be Hector and the weather services have names in place for another dozen or more.

Let’s hope we don’t get them or at least get them all.

Because if we do the weather authorities — and they do a sterling job forecasting what’s about to arrive on any given day — might start naming other less worrisome weather events to slake our thirst for weather news an dour search for things to worry about. And our weather reports will feature items about Drizzle David, Soft Day Sally and Mild Weather Mabel.

SEE ALSO: POLL: Vote for Kildare's Top Memorable Sporting Moment