Irishwoman whose weather forecast changed D-Day landing date dies aged 100

In 2021 she was awarded a special US House of Representatives honour for her role in the war

Maureen Sweeney received a special US House of Representatives honour in Belmullet, Co Mayo in 2021. As a young woman, she forecast an impending storm which changed the timing of the D-Day landings. Photograph: Tom Reilly

Maureen Sweeney, whose weather forecasting prevented possible devastation for Allied forces during the D-Day landings of the second World War, has died aged 100, her family said on Sunday.

Ms Sweeney worked as postmistress in Blacksod, Co Mayo, where the post-officer also recorded meteorological measurements. On June 3rd, 1944, aged 21, she identified a drop in pressure – sign of a gathering storm – over the Atlantic at around 1am.

She was the first to pinpoint the coming storm and her report, communicated to the Irish Met Service in Dublin, and then forwarded without her knowledge to the headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force in England, led to United States general Dwight Eisenhower postponing the D-Day landings from June 5th to June 6th.

In 2021 she was awarded a special US House of Representatives honour for her role in the war.


Originally from Co Kerry, the then Maureen Flavin moved to Co Mayo aged 18 to take up employment in the post office, where she worked alongside the postmistress’s son Ted Sweeney. They married after the war and she ran the post office until her retirement in the 2000s.

Maureen Flavin, the Mayo weather woman who made D-Day workOpens in new window ]

Announcing her death on Sunday, on her family said she died “peacefully in 101st year, surrounded by her loving family” at a nursing him in Belmullet.

“Predeceased by her husband Ted, grandson David, sister Teresa Kennelly, recently deceased daughter-in-law Margaret, niece Mary and recently deceased nephew Mike Kennelly.

“Beloved mother of Ted, Gerry, Vincent and Emer. She will be sadly missed by her heartbroken family, daughters-in-law Rita and Doreen, son-in-law Gerhard Schlueter (Albany, New York), grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, the Staff of the Sonas Tí Aire Nursing Home who showed her such kindness and care over the past few years, kind neighbours and many friends.”

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Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times