Hungarian meteorologist Kornelia Radics fired for ‘inaccurate’ forecast

On Monday, two senior Hungarian officials were fired after the weather forecast for a major event in the country turned out to be inaccurate.

The event was a fireworks display in honor of St. Stephen’s Day, a public holiday held annually in the Hungarian capital of Budapest on August 20 to celebrate the birth and history of Christianity in Hungary. The show usually attracts over a million spectators.

Before the holidays, the Hungarian National Meteorological Service called for 75-80% chance of rain during the fireworks start time at 9 p.m. on August 20. For the sake of securitythis forecast led to the postponement of the fireworks display to Saturday 27 August.

However, the storms predicted for the date of the initial event did not materialize.

The head of the Hungarian National Meteorological Service Kornelia Radics and his deputy Gyula Horvath were later fired.

Suspicions about the basis for the officials’ dismissal have been circulating.

In an interview with the Hungarian newspaper Telex, Horvath said that he was not part of the decision-making process related to the Saint-Étienne fireworks.

Hungarian Minister of Innovation and Technology Laszlo Palkovics
Hungarian Innovation and Technology Minister Laszlo Palkovics announced that the head of the National Meteorological Service Kornelia Radics and Gyula Horvath had been dismissed.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

“I have been working in the field of weather measurement and observation for 22 years, always to the best of my ability,” he said. “Hearing that was painful, but since I can’t do anything about it, I accepted it.”

The National Weather Service released a statement on Monday, calling the dismissals of Horvath and Radics “unacceptable” and “baseless.”

The weather had a significant impact on Saint-Étienne celebrations 16 years ago.

According to the Hungarian media Origoa violent storm hit Budapest during the fireworks display on the Danube on August 20, 2006.

Bad weather left 500 injured and five dead, including a woman who suffered a heart attack, a 12-year-old girl and a man who were killed by a falling tree and two people whose boat capsized during the storm .

“Although forecasting has improved by leaps and bounds over the past few decades, it still is and may never be perfect,” said the FOX Weather Forecast Center. “This is especially true with severe weather where subtle changes in atmospheric conditions on a small scale can have a big impact on the type of weather that ultimately occurs. We simply don’t have the technology to model the atmosphere with so many details.

“So even if the parameters of the atmosphere are favorable for the development of destructive thunderstorms in a given area, not everyone will see them,” they added. “That’s what happened in Budapest. Severe weather did occur, but it hit towns 15 miles south/southwest of town – that’s too close for comfort, and I’d say that was an accurate forecast.

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