Weather: Cross-border emergency planning call as meteorologists issue diverging weather warnings

Elisha McCallion.
Elisha McCallion.

Foyle MP Elisha McCallion has called for better cross-border planning for extreme weather after meteorologists warned people in Killea, Muff and Bridgend to take shelter indoors in order to protect themselves and their properties while citizens in Creggan, Culmore and Coshquin have been told merely that severe weather is possible over the next few days and could affect them.

Mrs. McCallion made the call as Ireland braced itself for the forecast collision of the Siberian 'beast of the east' weather front with the Atlantic Storm Emma in the hours ahead.

Severe blizzards are expected later today, especially in the south of the country, where people have been warned to stay indoors until a red level warning, which Met Éireann extended to the whole of Ireland last night, is lifted tomorrow.

But while the Dublin-headquartered, Met Éireann, is asking people to prepare to take action, such as "moving their families out of the danger zone temporarily; staying indoors; or other specific actions aimed at mitigating the effects of the weather conditions" the Met Office, based in Exeter, has only issued a yellow weather warning.

This warns people that "severe weather is possible over the next few days and could affect you" and that "you should plan ahead thinking about possible travel delays, or the disruption of your day to day activities."

Mrs. McCallion said it was unacceptable that people living a couple of hundred metres away from one another were being given such contrasting advice.

“In light of the severe weather across the island at the moment, it makes sense for us to plan on an all-island basis.

“On Wednesday a red alert was issued across the entire 26 counties meaning there was threat to life as a result of the severe weather but at the same time a yellow alert was issued in the Six Counties.

“How can such a serious alert be in place in Burnfoot in County Donegal but not be in place several miles away in Derry?

“Weather does not recognise borders and neither should weather planning systems.

“We should have a joined-up emergency planning service across the island to deal with severe weather situations to ensure we are prepared in the best way to keep people north and south safe.”