The Ministry of the Interior released a statement this afternoon responding to a retort made by a meteorologist last night to a contention made by the minister in parliament earlier this week.
As reported, heavy storms struck northern Iceland last September, downing power lines and stranding numerous sheep, launching a search-and-rescue mission which cost millions. Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson, in speaking about the storms last Tuesday, said that “no word of warning had been given” that the storms were coming on that day.
In turn, meteorologist for RÚV Haraldur Ólafsson began last night’s live broadcast of the weather forecast by bringing up the old forecast map for two nights before the storms struck, showing that high winds and snow had been predicted for that day.
The Ministry of the Interior has, in turn, released a statement responding to this.
The ministry contends that the Met Office did not contact the Civil Protection and Emergency Management authorities before the storm arrived, as is often done when a particularly bad storm is expected. Rather, the ministry statement says, while bad weather was forecast, no one indicated just how bad the weather could have been.
“It was not at all my intention to belittle the prediction of the Met Office,” the statement says in closing. “I actually said in the beginning of my speech that a storm had been forecast. My words at the end of my speech appear to contradict this, and for that I apologise.”