Batten down the hatches – more rain and gales are coming

Met Éireann records new maximum wave height of 23.4 metres off the northwest coast

Large waves caused by high winds and spring tides batter the coastal town of Lahinch, Co Clare, on Saturday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Large waves caused by high winds and spring tides batter the coastal town of Lahinch, Co Clare, on Saturday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Mon, Feb 3, 2014, 01:01


As communities in western coastal areas again count the cost of winter storms and flood damage, Met Éireann has warned of gale force winds and rain today – this time in the east and south of the country.

Met Éireann, which recorded a new maximum wave height of 23.4 metres off the northwest coast, says high wind and rain are set to return in coming days. The forecaster has issued an orange weather alert advising people to take appropriate precautions against storm damage.

While clearer and brighter weather will extend to all areas by this evening, “very unsettled weather” is forecast for the rest of the week, with a risk of very strong winds at times and above average rainfall.

Daytime temperatures are expected to be normal, but are likely to fall to freezing or below with sharp frost and a risk of icy patches tonight.

There will be a bright start to tomorrow, Met Éireann says, but wet and extremely windy weather will extend from the southwest by nightfall. Rain will be heavy at times, accompanied by strong to gale force southeasterly winds and with a risk of some severe gusts and with a risk of flooding.

The forecaster says its new record wave height was recorded by the M4 weather buoy, off the northwest coast north of Erris Head, Co Mayo, at a point roughly west of Bloody Foreland in Co Donegal. It was recorded on Sunday, January 26th, during that weekend’s storm.

This figure easily surpasses the previous record of 20.4 metres at the same location in December 2011. The M4 buoy is one of a new generation of weather buoys with the ability to measure maximum wave height as well as the more usual “significant wave height”.

There was also a record for maximum significant wave height for the M4 buoy of 15.3 metres at the same time, with the previous record being 14.7 metres.

The storm of that weekend does not appear to have been predicted by New Zealand weather forecaster Ken Ring who has claimed considerable success in predicting Irish weather – including last summer’s heatwave – based on tidal flows and lunar cycles.

According to Mr Ring’s Ireland Weather Almanac 2014, the weather for January 25th to 27th should have been “mild weather and fairly light winds”.

For the coming week, Mr Ring’s almanac predicts a cold, mainly dry day in Dublin today with wind and a chance of sleet or hail showers. Tomorrow will be overcast, cold, mostly dry with frosts and windy spells and Wednesday’s weather in Dublin, it adds, should be changeable with squally winds, showers of sleet and light snow.