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Friday 2 December 2016

'Saturated ground is not getting a chance to dry out' - Met Éireann

Published 20/09/2016 | 02:30

IFA president Joe Healy gets a helping hand from George Anderson on his farm outside Laghey. Mr Healy visited Donegal earlier in September to discuss the weather crisis with local farmers. PHOTO: Clive Wasson
IFA president Joe Healy gets a helping hand from George Anderson on his farm outside Laghey. Mr Healy visited Donegal earlier in September to discuss the weather crisis with local farmers. PHOTO: Clive Wasson

Recorded rainfall in Co Donegal is up just over 10pc on last year, with the rainfall at Met Éireann's Finner station recorded as 110pc, while at Malin the figure comes out at 113pc so far this year.

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This is by no means an extreme weather event, says Aidan Murphy of the Met Éireann information service.

"The biggest problem is not extreme weather but the persistent saturation of the ground caused by the Atlantic fronts hitting Donegal," he said.

There is a noticeable difference in soil moisture between the west coast and the east coast this year, he added.

"The problem is that the ground in the west is saturated and is not being given the opportunity to dry out, while the ground in the east is solid," Murphy explained.

And the saturated ground in the region had obvious knock-on ­consequences for Donegal farmers in terms of silage cutting and land ­compaction, he said.

It's the Atlantic weather front ­persistently lashing the west - ­Donegal in particular - and the ­consequent lack of sunshine that is the core of the problem.

"Donegal is currently saturated and soil moisture deficits are at minus 10. The region received the highest ­rainfalls this year, along with parts of Mayo and Kerry," he said.

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Met Éireann's weather forecast for the next 10 days is for unsettled weather to continue, with a mixture of showers and sunshine, mild to humid temperature, moderate breezes, and predictably, a low to moderate sunburn index.

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