‘Not very summery’: Heavy showers, floods expected as reopening begins

As the country heads to the hairdressers Met Éireann warns of rain, average temperatures

Heavy rain conditions on Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin earlier in May. File photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Heavy rain conditions on Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin earlier in May. File photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

 

As the largest reopening of commercial and cultural centres in Ireland since last year gets underway on Monday, Met Éireann has warned of heavy showers and potential floods.

The lifting of the ban on inter-county travel, increased capacity on public transport and larger numbers of people allowed to meet outdoors and to attend funerals, weddings and religious services from May 10th, will also mean people who haven’t seen each other in months will meet again.

But they should bring rain gear and remember that Covid-19 hasn’t gone away and the potential to catch and spread the virus remains, according to authorities.

Met Éireann meteorologist Emer Flood said weather for the coming days was expected to be “not very summery” . While it will not be as cold as last week,temperatures will only be “ average” – that is between 12 and 16 degrees “with showers that are quite heavy”.

On Sunday heavy showers were mainly confined to the west, but on Monday and over the coming days they would become “quite widespread” according to Ms Flood.

There is also potential for localised flooding in some areas over coming days. And the outlook for the remainder of the month does not look very summery either.

According to the long-range forecast there will be an easterly influence from the 17th to the 23rd giving some dry spells in the north and west , but remaining cold on eastern coastal areas.

The outlook beyond that is difficult to say because the situation is so changeable, according to Ms Flood, but she added it looks cooler than average, at this stage.

The phased reopening of retail, appointment-based haircuts, galleries, museums and libraries is expected to result in much greater movement of people, but there are unlikely to be very large crowds at beaches, given the potential for widespread heavy showers.

Even allowing for that, public health doctors and infectious disease specialists have warned the potential to catch and spread the virus remains, as the country reopens for business.

From Monday non-essential shops will reopen for click-and-collect services while hairdressers and other personal services may operate by appointment.

Shops will reopen more fully from May 17th, something Duncan Graham from Retail Excellence Ireland said would “take a bit of the heat out of the clamour for shopping and spread the load”.

But from Monday, buses, trains and trams will be allowed to carry 50 per cent of their maximum capacity.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan has advised people to avoid crowded places, and the advice from Irish Rail is to spread non-essential journeys and try not to travel at peak times.