Heavy rain on the way as a typical Irish summer returns

Met Éireann forecasting that the long spell of sunny, dry weather is coming to an end

Lunchtime read on the banks of the Canal during the June heatwave. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Lunchtime read on the banks of the Canal during the June heatwave. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

The long glorious summer we have been having is due to come to an end this weekend.

Met Éireann is forecasting a “noticeable change” in the weather with a series of weather systems bringing a more typical Irish summer of sunshine and showers.

“It looks like the first time in a while where we will see that the airflow is becoming more typically Atlantic-based,” said forecaster Gerry Murphy.

Widespread showers are expected across the country this weekend which will be good news for drought-affected farmers but bad news for holiday-makers.

Push out the window boxes: rain is on the way
Push out the window boxes: rain is on the way

Rain has already started falling in the west of Ireland and will move across to the east on Thursday night.

On Friday there is a chance of further showers starting in the west and spreading into the east.

Mr Murphy said there is a “risk of fairly heavy downpours” on Friday evening across the south-east of the country.

Saturday looks like being a dry day most places, but it will start raining on Saturday evening starting in the south-west moving across the country.

It will be the first significant rainfall across the whole of the country for weeks and will be welcomed by farmers.

Temperatures are also expected to fall back to a more normal 16 to 19 degrees.

However, substantially more rain will be needed to make up for the extreme drought of recent weeks.

Soil moisture deficits (the amount of rain which would be needed to bring soil moisture up to normal) are running at between 70 and 90mms in Leinster and Munster.

Mr Murphy said the soil needs “short bursts of moderate rain” rather than heavy thunderstorms to restore moisture levels.

The forecasted rain will be a relief for farmers, but it is unlikely to be enough in the short term to stave off the possibility of a fodder crisis next winter.

Teagasc estimates that it will take at least four weeks for normal grass production to return.

The summer drought, coming after a cold spring, has made it an extremely difficult year for farmers, according to the IFA and some farmers have had to feed their cattle fodder which was saved for the coming winter.

“The current situation is unprecedented and is causing huge financial pressures on farms and huge stress for farmers,” its president Joe Healy said.

“What we now need is real leadership from the Minister (Michael Creed) and our Government to assist farmers at this extraordinarily difficult time.”

He called on Mr Creed to deliver on low cost loans as committed in last year’s budget and to support farmers in the forthcoming budget.

He also called on him to intervene with the meat factories and retailers to ensure that they do not exploit the current drought conditions by offering lower prices for animals.