Two Weather Officials Fired After Inaccurate Forecast

Hungary's authoritarian government apparently wasn't pleased with the misfire
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 23, 2022 8:29 AM CDT
Two Weather Officials Fired After Inaccurate Forecast

The two top officials of Hungary's meteorological service were fired Monday after an inaccurate rain forecast prompted the postponement of a fireworks display on the country's most important national holiday, per the AP. The annual St. Stephen's Day fireworks show along the Danube River in Budapest—billed as the largest display in Europe—was called off Saturday afternoon based on forecasts that said extreme weather was likely around the 9pm start time. By evening, the storms had not materialized in the capital, but the show, which typically draws more than a million spectators, already had been rescheduled for the next week due to safety concerns.

The firings were announced in a brief statement by Minister of Technology and Industry Laszlo Palkovics, a top cabinet member in the government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The fired weather service chief, Kornelia Radics, had served in her post since 2013 and her deputy, Gyula Horvath, since 2016. While the minister did not provide a reason for the dismissals, the meteorological service had received harsh criticism in Hungary's government-aligned media, which charged that the service's “gravely wrong” forecast had caused a needless postponement of the fireworks display.

Critics of Orban's government, which has been accused of corruption, nepotism, and anti-democratic tendencies, charged that the firings were politically motivated and reminiscent of Hungary's communist past. In a Tuesday statement, the meteorological service demanded the reinstatement of its fired leaders. The agency described coming under “political pressure” concerning its assessments of weather models on the holiday and that those applying the pressure “ignored the scientifically accepted uncertainty inherent in meteorological forecasts.”

(Read more meteorology stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.