The president of the National Meteorological Service (OMSZ) and the deputy chairman of the organization are to step down with immediate effect, according to a statement by the Ministry of Technology and Industry.
The Minister of Technology and Industry, László Palkovics, who is in charge of the organization, dismissed Kornelia Radics and Gyula Horváth on August 22nd. The new leaders will be appointed at a later date.
The heads of the OMSZ were forced to leave their posts after the organization issued an erroneous weather forecast on August 20th, the Hungarian national holiday. The National Meteorological Service said a storm would hit Budapest, with strong wind gusts and even hail, prompting the government to decide to postpone the large-scale fireworks display.
However, as it turned out on Saturday evening, the capital was not hit by a storm, so the spectacle was postponed in vain.
According to a meteorologist who spoke to Telex, a Hungarian news site, they are now investigating what could have been the reason for the faulty model calculations – as the OMSZ was still predicting an 80-90 percent chance of rain on Saturday afternoon. Rita Nagy-Kurunczi, who works at Időkép, a weather forecast website, said that the formation of such a rainfall block is uncertain not only in time but also in space. Moreover, it is difficult to estimate because it can form in a short period of time which can easily lead to trouble.
The weather in Hungary deteriorated just in time for the festive weekend, after a series of thunderstorms hit the country. As a result, several outdoor events were closed early and the air parade over the Danube on Saturday morning was canceled. The government has been extremely cautious about events since a disaster occurred during the St. Stephen’s Day celebrations in 2006 when a storm struck during the fireworks show and five people were killed, and hundreds injured in the resulting stampede.
Featured photo: MTI/Illyés Tibor