Hi everyone. For once, it’s not a weather forecast I’m writing here. Instead, I’ll use this new type of post to just talk about weather in general, about the tools I use to come up with my forecasts, and about tools that anyone can use to keep informed. In fact, some of these tools are the reason for this article, as they are easily understood, and readily available. I’m aiming to churn out one of these every Sunday, but please bear with me if that doesn’t always work out.
Severe weather of all kinds can strike with only minimal warning. Be it a severe, but localised thunderstorm that boils up on a hot summers day, an unusually thick bank of fog in winter, or an unlucky combination of onshore winds, high tides, and heavy rainfall that leads to kayaks roaming the streets of Cork, all of them can strike with only a few hours of advance warning, if at all. Since even dedicated cloud heads like me can’t look at weather websites ALL the time, there are a few automated alert systems that can do the job for you.
Cork City Weather Alerts
This service is provided by Cork City Council. In its core, it can send out alerts about severe weather, flooding and other events out via text message, email, a phone call, or a soon to be launched app. I’m a user of this system myself, and have been for several years, as it is really quite handy to be informed ahead of time, and I strongly urge anyone who lives in Cork city to register for this system if you have not already done so. Please note that this system normally only sends out alerts for severe weather warnings that reach level orange or higher.
Cork County Weather Alerts
Well, this is Ireland after all, so I guess a joint warning system by the city council and county council would have been too much to ask. Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Like the system operated by Cork City Council, the county system alerts you via email or text message if any severe weather or flooding is headed your way. It can also alert you about road closures, so it might be interesting for commuters as well. Like with the Cork City system, I strongly urge you to register for this system, if you haven’t done so already. There is no reason not to do it. Please note that this system normally only sends out alerts for severe weather warnings that reach level orange or higher.
Any German data protection official will probably regurgitate his last meal when he reads the words social media, but in this day and age, you can’t get around them, and to be fair, I find them much more of an asset than a liability. Sure, there’s tons of crap out there, and that’s NOT counting all that clickbait BS flying around, but when you know where to look, there are some real gold mines of information out there.
Irish Weather Online
This Facebook Page is one of my personal go-to places when it comes to weather forecasts. Run by a team of volunteers, this page churns out detailed daily forecasts for all of Ireland, as well as for that lump of rock to the east, Britain or something like that, and occasionally the Eastern Seaboard of the US and Australia. They also regularly publish articles about past or present weather phenomena, and issue detailed warnings if something nasty is moving in. Speaking of nasty, they also take great pleasure and delight in skilfully disassembling those idiotic long term forecasts that tabloids like the Sun, or the Daily Fail like to put on their front pages. Note: Any Forecast going beyond 7-14 days is a guessing game, pure and simple. Anyone who claims otherwise is either a con-man or has been conned into believing one!
Cork Safety Alerts
Another Facebook Page, this one is more locally focussed on Cork, however. At the same time, they don’t just look after the weather, but provide traffic warnings, information about accidents or major fires, or help spread messages about missing people. What’s more, this page was merged with the former Cork Flood Alerts, so any warning about floods will also be part of their repertoire. Like Irish Weather Online above, Cork Safety Alerts is also active on Twitter, if that is your thing.
Okay, so I’m cheating a bit with this one, but Ireland’s national weather service does provide some good tools to get a quick overview of the weather. I’ll go into more detail about them in a later post, today I just want to point out their Rainfall Radar. This offers a quick overview of whatever is falling out of the sky over Ireland, how heavy it is, and where it is moving. It’s a good way to find out if that cloud coming up over the hill is just dark because of the angle of the light hitting it, or whether it’s a deluge of biblical proportions, or, as it is called in Ireland, summer.
So, that’s it for today. These sites and services are what I call a basic kit to stay ahead of any weather developments in your area. If you don’t live in Cork, check out the website of your local city or council, many should have such an alert system by now. As for the Facebook pages I mentioned, check them out, and like or follow them. Do you guys have any suggestions of your own? Any services that you would recommend? Or do you have a topic you’d like to hear about on the next Weekend Weather Word? Drop me a message in the comment section and let me know.