Irish lady whose forecast saved D-Day, dies at 100
Maureen Sweeney, the remarkable Irish woman whose pivotal weather forecast altered the course of the D-Day landings, has passed away at the age of 100. Back in 1944, Maureen and her husband Ted were stationed at a coast guard and weather outpost in Blacksod Bay, County Mayo, along Ireland's western coast. Their responsibility was to diligently record hourly barometer readings in the lead-up to the Allied invasion of Normandy.
Their meticulous reports played a crucial role in the decision-making process, leading to the postponement of the invasion due to an impending storm. Maureen herself mentioned in a 2016 BBC interview that their reports were the first to signal any weather changes.
On June 3rd, the readings indicated a storm brewing in the Atlantic, prompting the crucial decision to delay the Nazi-occupied France invasion by a day, allowing for better weather conditions. This delay, which resulted from their observations, marked the beginning of the operation to liberate north-west Europe from German occupation, a historic turning point in World War II.
Despite Ireland's official neutrality during the war, information gathered by the Irish Meteorological Service, including Maureen's data, was shared with the Allies. Their insights significantly influenced the planning, as the invasion was contingent upon specific weather conditions, particularly wind and visibility. Maureen's proactive forecast on June 3rd, 1944, prompted a call to London, confirming the severe storm approaching Europe. Her inputs were crucial to a team of American and British forecasters, who strongly advised delaying the invasion.
In 2021, Maureen received a special honor from the US House of Representatives. Her passing occurred peacefully at the Sonas Tí Aire Nursing Home, Belmullet, and her funeral service is scheduled at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Aughleamon, followed by burial at Faulmore Cemetery on Friday at 12:00.
Her legacy remains intertwined with one of history's pivotal moments, her contribution instrumental in altering the course of a significant military operation.