‘Unseasonably strong winds’ loom as yellow weather warning issued for coastal areas

St Swithin’s Day outlook is for more rain at least for the next few days - whatever about the next 40

More wind and rain is forecast as Ireland experiences one of the wettest Julys in recent years with no respite likely.

A status-yellow wind warning has been issued for the coastal areas of Galway, Mayo and the offshore islands until 9pm, with “unseasonably strong winds” forecast for St Swithin’s Day.

According to the legend of St Swithin, the weather that dominates on July 15th will remain in place for the next 40 days and 40 nights.

Or, as the proverb goes: “St Swithin’s Day if thou dost rain, for 40 days it will remain, St Swithin’s Day if thou be fair, for 40 days will rain na mair.”


The soggy July is in sharp contrast to the unprecedented heatwaves currently being experienced in southern Europe. Italy, Spain and Greece are being hit by 40-degree-plus temperatures. The heatwave is unofficially known as Cerberus, the figure in Greek mythology that guards the gates of the underworld. It will be replaced next week by another heatwave, Cheron, with similar high temperatures expected.

By contrast, parts of the west of Ireland have had more than 50mm (two inches) of rain in the last 36 hours. Athenry recorded 34.7mm of rain on Friday and so far on Saturday another 24.3mm. Mount Dillon in Co Roscommon had 39.8mm on Friday and a further 15.2mm so far on Saturday. The weather station in the Phoenix Park recorded 25.4mm of rain on Friday and Saturday, almost as much as for the entire month of May and half of what was recorded in the whole of June.

Met Éireann forecaster Liz Walsh said it was now an “easing trend” with the intense low pressure which had brought so much rain and wind slowly moving away. However, the weather will remain unsettled.

“We are looking at a showery flow for the rest of the weekend. There is still rain and showers set to come and there is a little bit of a bite in the wind later on today over the eastern side of the country. It could be quite windy again.”

Ms Walsh said the disappointing July which followed two very good months in May and June was as a result of the jetstream which had been to the north of Great Britain and Ireland then and was now over both islands – directing low-pressure areas with wind and rain. “We are in the firing line for low pressure. There will still be low pressure as we go through next week but it won’t be as bad as it is this weekend. It’s been almost autumnal this weekend,” Ms Walsh explained.

Next week is going to bring more unsettled weather. A low-pressure system is moving in on Monday night with a slight chance of a ridge of high pressure towards the end of the week, but it could lose out to low pressure.

Met Éireann said it would be increasingly windy on Saturday with widespread showers or longer spells of rain, heavy at times, with isolated thunderstorms possible. Highest temperatures of 15-18 degrees are forecast.

Showers will become more scattered overnight and winds will ease to moderate.

In Northern Ireland, a status-yellow warning has been issued with a forecast of heavy showers and thunderstorms that could lead to some flooding and disruption. The warning is to last until 8pm on Saturday.

Sunday will bring a mixture of sunshine and showers, and some of the showers will be heavy with thunderstorms possible, mainly in the east during the afternoon and evening, Met Éireann said. Highest temperatures of 15-19 degrees are forecast.

St Swithin’s rule looks set to hold for the next few days – whatever about the next 40 – with a mixture of sunshine and showers forecast for Monday through to Wednesday.

Monday is to start drier with more frequent showers in the afternoon, Met Éireann said. Tuesday is set to be wet and breezy across southern counties in the morning, while elsewhere it will be a mix of cloud and isolated showers. Wednesday is forecast to be a little drier on Wednesday with better sunshine but still a few showers in the afternoon and highest temperatures 16-19 degrees in a light northwest wind.

Met Éireann said current indications suggest continued unsettled and showery weather.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times