No summer in sight as further downpours forecast

Tue, Jul 3, 2012, 01:00

THE RELENTLESS wet weather is set to continue this week with 50mm of rain likely in some places.

Heavy showers are expected every day, with Thursday forecast to be the worst day.

It follows the wettest June on record in most parts of the country.

The south, midlands and east recorded between two and three times the normal rainfall for June.

The weather station at Cork Airport recorded 228.3mm of rain last month, the most since records began there 50 years ago. In May 72.9mm of rain fell at the airport.

Malin Head experienced 50.9mm (more than two inches) of rain on June 22nd, while 41.8mm fell at Shannon Airport on June 7th, the heaviest June rainfall there for 65 years.

There is no respite in store as unstable air is creating conditions for thundery showers of the type that caused flooding last week.

Today is likely to see between 10mm and 20mm of rain throughout the country. Tomorrow will see scattered showers but Thursday looks like having the worst of the weather.

“There is a big area of low pressure hanging over Ireland and it is not moving,” said Met Éireann meteorologist Vincent O’Shea.

“Every day this week you are talking about rain or showers. There is absolutely no sign whatsoever of a move towards positivity,” he said.

Met Éireann’s computer models are predicting between 40mm and 50mm of rain in Munster and in the north midlands this week, with 20mm in coastal areas.

The nature of the precipitation, which is convective rather than frontal, will make for heavy downpours in places. Exact locations are hard to predict.

Convective rainfall happens, in warm weather, when air rises from the ground, cools and then falls, usually as heavy showers. Frontal rain, which is the most common type in Ireland, occurs when warm air fronts meet cold fronts.

The midlands and north are likely to experience the worst of the rain on Thursday, though everywhere will be wet. There is a possibility of localised flooding in some parts of the country.

The wet weather is now threatening the livelihoods of farmers. The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association says the recent bad weather means there is a compelling case for the approval of an advance payment under the EU Single Farm Payment scheme.

Association president Gabriel Gilmartin says conditions are poor in most parts of the country and this is affecting farmers’ trade and cash flow.

“We have just witnessed the wettest June in Ireland since records began. Farmers are finding it very difficult to get on with their work under these conditions,” he said.

The weather is having a serious impact on farmers trying to cut silage. Fruit crops have also been affected.

Mr Gilmartin warned that the bad weather is going to have “huge cash-flow implications” for farmers. He said the advance payment usually paid on October 16th should be brought forward.