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Weeklies on fired weather forecasters

August 29th, 2022

Commentators, including a fervent supporter of the government, are fiercely critical of the decision taken by the Minister for Technology to demote the director of the National Meteorological Service and her deputy because the storm they predicted for the night of August 20 didn’t materialise and the traditional St Stephen’s day firework display was postponed unnecessarily.

In its editorial, 168 óra writes that it is not the fault of the meteorologists if the weather sometimes takes an unexpected turn. The editors remind the decision-makers of their own mistakes in predicting inflation or economic growth. (For the antecedents see BudaPost, August 25.)

Magyar Narancs goes so far as to suspect that the authorities cancelled the fireworks because only relatively few people had been flowing into the capital from other parts of the country to watch the show. The editors claim that satellite pictures at noon on 20 August showed no signs of a coming storm.

In Magyar Hang, Szabolcs Szerető sees the ‘storm over the storm that never came’ as a minor incident diverting public attention from a more important one – namely that amid all the current financial difficulties, the government decided to buy Vodafone Hungary, in partnership with a private company (see BudaPost, August, 24).

In a first comment by a pro-government commentator on the case of the two dismissed weather forecasters, Demokrata’s András Bencsik takes up their defence. The meteorologists, he writes, made no mistake. There was rain, and there was wind on the evening of 20 August, he continues, but they hit a few kilometres away. Speaking on HIRTV on Thursday night, Bencsik said the mistaken decision to demote the two meteorologists would perhaps not have been taken had Prime Minister Orbán not been on holiday.

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