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  Home - About Us - Weather Observing Stations - Claremorris - Claremorris History


Weather Observing Stations


When the Irish Meteorological Service was established in 1936, Claremorris was one of the places that was selected as a location for an inland station. The reasons for putting the station here seem to be that Claremorris was physically situated in the centre of Connacht, it had the main telephone exchange in the county, and was also a major railway junction with daily trains and postal service to Dublin.

Sometime in 1942, a plot of land was bought from a local family, the Vaheys. It was apparently the policy of the Department and the Irish Meteorological Service (IMS) during that period to employ staff locally, a policy that continued for some time with regard to inland stations. Because of this the Vahey family was offered the contract to staff the station and they accepted.

A representative from the IMS came to the station and trained three members of the Vahey family to carry out observations and essential instrument maintenance. This training lasted about three weeks following, which the station opened for business on the 13 November 1943.

The three Vahey staff members worked a rotational 12hr shift - 0400Z to 1600Z and 1600Z to 0400Z, with observations read every three hours - 0400Z, 0700Z, 1000Z, which were transmitted by phone to Dublin. The charts and forms (7441 etc.) were posted to HQ every few days. This system was maintained for the next six years or so.

On the subject of the war, there are F7441 weather report forms still in Claremorris for the period of the invasion of France, which confirm that the weather in the rest of Ireland was improving with an area of high pressure replacing an active low. The details as elicited from F7441 are, 4th June 1944. 1300Z. Wind 210 17mph gusting 42mph, continuous rain, pressure 999mbs. 6th June 1944 1300Z, (D-Day); wind ;290 20mph, clear spells, pressure; 1014mbs and rising.

This improving situation, with reports from Blacksod Lighthouse and presumably, Claremorris was the reason that the launch of the invasion of France went ahead on the 6th June 1944. Many will remember the weather expert in the film "The Longest Day" giving this information to Gen. Eisenhower and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Sometime in 1949, it was decided that the Irish Meteorological Service needed observations on an hourly basis from inland stations like Claremorris. The decision was made to staff the station with full time permanent personnel.

In 1996, Claremorris Station closed and staff were relocated to Knock Airport. During the early nineties, a new computerised automatic weather system (AWS) was installed with data download into the main computer in HQ. This was run in conjunction with manual reporting for a number of years and the CAMOS AWS is now operating in Claremorris Met Office.

In Claremorris the meteorological conditions most remembered were the snows of 1947, (Robert Vahey recalled having to dig through six foot drifts to get to the station), Hurricane Debbie 1961, other wild and windy times like the night of 27 January 1974 when gusts of 96kts were recorded which left the streets of the town littered with slates.

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