Hungary’s top two weather officials sacked after incorrect rain forecast leads to postponement of fireworks display | World News

Two top officials from Hungary’s meteorological agency have been fired after a “severely wrong” rain forecast led to the postponement of fireworks.

The annual St Stephen’s Day exhibition, which takes place along the Danube in Budapest, is considered the largest in Europe and marks the most important national holiday in Hungary.

It normally draws more than a million spectators but was postponed on Saturday afternoon after forecasts said severe weather could hit around the 9pm start time.

The show was rescheduled for next week but on the evening of St Stephen’s Day the expected storms never materialized.

Laszlo Palkovics, the Hungarian Minister of Technology and Industry, later announced that Kornelia Radics, head of the National Meteorological Service, and her deputy Gyula Horvath had been fired.

The testimonies have fueled accusations of political interference from Hungary’s nationalist government.

While the minister did not give a reason for the dismissal, the meteorological agency received harsh criticism in the media affiliated with the Hungarian government, reporting that the forecast was “severely wrong” agency caused the fireworks display to be postponed.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service requested the reinstatement of Ms. Radics and her deputy.

The agency describes being under “political pressure” regarding its assessment of holiday weather patterns, and those applying the pressure “have ignored uncertainty in a generally accepted way”. science inherent in meteorological forecasts”.

“We take the firm view that, despite considerable pressure from decision-makers, our colleagues … have provided their best knowledge and are not responsible for any any actual or alleged damages,” the service wrote.

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Critics of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government, which has been accused of corruption, autocracy and anti-democracy, say the shootings are politically motivated and reminiscent of his communist past. Hungary.

St Stephen’s Day is celebrated in Hungary on 20 August every year in tribute to King Stephen, who laid the foundations for the state after his coronation on Christmas Day 1000 AD.

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