Tuesday 17 October 2017

Celestial influence may lead to hot August, postman predicts

MERCURY RISING: Postman Michael Gallagher
MERCURY RISING: Postman Michael Gallagher
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

Spending summer at home? Then pray that a postman from Donegal is proven correct while a global weather forecasting giant used by governments, space agencies and more than one billion people is dead wrong.

Amateur meteorologist Michael Gallagher from Lifford last week used folklore, acute observation of local flora and fauna as well as close scrutiny of the phases of the moon to predict that July's cool and sometimes wet and windy weather will improve.

But AccuWeather, the worldwide weather agency operating out of a massive control centre in Pennsylvania, is more pessimistic. They say the murky unsettled conditions will persist until the end of the first week of August at least.

Michael Gallagher says that the weather will improve thanks in part to a New Moon falling on a Friday, which, according to local legend, is a harbinger of good weather.

But he warns that things could go downhill again in September due to the New Moon falling on a Sunday.

"That's not a good sign," said Mr Gallagher.

While we've had more sunshine and warmth this year than the really dismal summers of 2012, 2008 and 2007, the summer of 2015 isn't shaping to be that much better.

As our neighbours on the Continent bake in searing temperatures, Ireland has struggled to hit the 20C mark for much of this month.

"There's not much positive, I can tell you," Met Eireann meteorologist Harm Luijkx told the Sunday Independent.

A series of low-pressure systems coming in from the Atlantic has kept temperatures below average, with frequent showers and spells of rain, he said.

Although we may get a brief reprieve early this week when temperatures will hover between the mid and high teens, we'll be lucky to see the mercury exceed 15C by mid-week, with plenty of showers, he said.

"The general outlook is it will stay changeable and unsettled for most of this week," he said.

And the picture looks even bleaker over the next fortnight, according to the long-term forecast for online meteorologist AccuWeather.com.

According to its predictions, the next sunny day will be next Saturday, when the temperature will hit 18C with just a scattering of clouds.

But the forecaster predicts that cloudy conditions in all forms - which it describes as "variable clouds", "considerable clouds", "rather cloudy" and "mostly cloudy" - will loom over the capital with the odd shower and thunderstorm through the first week in August.

The outlook is set to improve by the second weekend in August when temperatures will "soar" to 21C with generally sunny conditions, according to AccuWeather.com.

But in the meantime, as al fresco bars and cafes and other outdoor businesses are feeling the pinch, at least some businesses are thriving.

Sunways Holidays is reporting a spike in bookings to sun destinations like Costa Del Sol, Lake Garda and Turkey over the past week.

The Funtasia water park in Drogheda, Co Louth, has been busy all month after a slow start in June when the weather was good, while the National Aquatic Centre in Blanchardstown, west Dublin, which features the AquaZone indoor water adventure centre for children, has also seen a surge in the number of day visitors so far this month, according to spokesman Robbie Whelan.

"It's been a busy start to the summer. We're already about 8pc ahead of last year," he said, noting the lack of proper beach weather is helping to drum up business, including one family who gave up on a day at the beach last week after being blasted with blowing sand.

Keeping with the tropical theme, those looking for an escape from the rain, the Straffan Butterfly Farm and Museum in Co Kildare offers a sultry oasis of tropical plants as exotic butterflies flutter freely in the jungle-themed tropical house.

The National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, Dublin, also provides a steamy reprieve from dismal weather at its stunning Victorian-era Palm House conservatory featuring a mini waterfall and babbling brook along with exotic tropical plants and giant palm trees.

Punters can also go on a mini safari at the National Reptile Zoo near Kilkenny where you'll see live crocodiles, alligators and iguanas in their natural habitats, where the temperature is always hot.

Sunday Independent

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