Soggy bank holiday to fall short of high expectations
Would-be sunbathers disappointment may be valid as cold May comes to a close
Following a dry start for many parts on Saturday morning, rain will spread across the country from the west over late morning and afternoon. File photograph: Michael Blann/Getty Images
As we head into what looks set to be a soggy bank holiday weekend, many people have been left to malign the poor May weather during a month that should provide an optimistic lead-in to the headier days of summer.
The population of Ireland may have perpetually unrealistic expectations when it comes to the country’s climate, but disgruntled would-be sunbathers appear to have a point according to a leading meteorologist.
“It’s only about a degree or so colder than the average. We’ve had a long run of northwesterly winds coming off the Atlantic which itself is about a degree colder than usual for this time of year.”
He says there is some speculation in meteorological circles that El Niño – a five-yearly climatic phenomenon which causes extreme weather fluctuations in parts of the world – may be responsible for the disappointing conditions of late, but believes the hypothesis is unlikely in Ireland’s case.
“Most researchers think it’s not a major factor. It’s a transitional month in May between winter and summer conditions . . . In April we had a warm spell this year, but it hasn’t been repeated in May. I think people’s expectations have been just that bit too much for the time of year,” he said.
Although a comprehensive monthly report has not yet been compiled, Sweeney’s observations appear to have been corroborated by Met Éireann’s pattern readings over the last seven days.
“What we really want is a big blob of high pressure or a nice, strong southerly airflow bringing milder air over the country but we just haven’t got that.”
Indeed, latest predictions indicate that we won’t get it this weekend either. Following a dry start for many parts on Saturday morning, rain will spread across the country from the west over late morning and afternoon.
Parts of the southeast may get a slight reprieve from the sodden conditions on Sunday, and race-goers at the Cork City Marathon could get away with dry weather depending on how fast a heavy front of rain approaches on Monday.
Just as a bank holiday weekend almost inevitably heralds a damp spell, another pattern appears to hold true for this year as higher temperatures are expected to break through to coincide with the start of State examinations next week.