Forecasting Consequences

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The Hungarian government fired the head of the national weather service and her deputy this week over a mistaken weather forecast that sparked an uproar in the country, the BBC reported.

On Monday, Innovation Minister Lazlo Palkovics sacked Kornelia Radics, head of the country’s National Meteorological Service (NMS), and her deputy Gyula Horvath, but did not provide a reason for their dismissal.

Their removal came as the country had been preparing for what has been described as “Europe’s biggest fireworks display” to celebrate “Hungary’s millennial state” on St. Stephen’s Day on Saturday, according to the Guardian.

In a spectacular display that often draws up to two million spectators, about 40,000 fireworks were prepared to be set off from different points along a three-mile stretch of the Danube River in central Budapest.

The NMS had originally forecasted there would be thunderstorms and wind gusts on Saturday, prompting the government to cancel the event. But Saturday’s weather turned out to be calm, which led the agency to publicly apologize the next day for the alarm.

Even so, pro-government supporters criticized the agency for giving “misleading information about the extent of the bad weather, which misled the operation team responsible for security.”

The fireworks display will now take place this Saturday, officials said.

Still, nearly 200,000 people signed a petition asking that the fireworks be canceled in light of the conflict in neighboring Ukraine and domestic austerity measures.

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