Saturday 1 October 2016

Not a good summer, but not a bad one - forecasters say 2015 is merely 'average'

Published 25/07/2015 | 02:30

Sisters Laura and Rachel Kelly and Lisa McDonald waiting in the rain on Custom House Quay in Dublin for the Wexford bus
Sisters Laura and Rachel Kelly and Lisa McDonald waiting in the rain on Custom House Quay in Dublin for the Wexford bus

Stop complaining - this summer has not been that bad, forecasters insist.

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With rainfall in parts of the country almost double the average for July, temperatures notably down and almost constant cloud cover, the country has looked despairingly skyward.

The debate has been raging as to whether this has been one of our worst summers.

But we shouldn't be so pessimistic - summer 2015 has merely been "average" according to experts.

Gerald Fleming, head of forecasting with Met Éireann, revealed that Ireland gets on average just two good summers each decade.

This summer may have left sun lovers dejected but, according to Mr Fleming, it doesn't constitute a 'bad' year.

A tourist enjoys the Irish summer
A tourist enjoys the Irish summer

"If you look at the long term, two out of every 10 summers are good for us," he said.

"We usually have two good summers, six average summers and two bad. This one is not that bad, this would fall into the average to poor range."

While Dublin and the east have fared best overall, the south and southeast has been worst hit with lower temperatures and heavy rainfall.

"It's not good. We are around a degree lower than average, which doesn't sound like a lot but it makes a difference.

"We had two years of good summers but temperatures are two to three degrees below the weather we had two summers ago, which is a big difference in temperature.

Sunshine

"The average temperatures have been 14.1C, two years ago these were at 17.3C so it's over three degrees lower.

"Sunshine has been in short supply and cloud cover has been high. The number of sunshine hours is certainly down. The lack of settled weather has been constant and there has been a fair bit of wind," added Mr Fleming.

Read more: Make the most of your Saturday as summer 'ends' on Sunday

While June had offered some of the driest weather in decades, with parts of Dublin recording its driest June in 40 years, July has failed to live up to expectations.

Temperature-wise Dublin and Meath are having the best summer, but it's still well down on recent years, according to Mr Fleming.

"June had a lot of dry weather but it was cool as well. We've had a cool and unsettled summer.

"Temperatures in Dublin and Dunsany in Meath tend to be that much better. It's still worse than previous summers but it's not as bad as some parts. The worst have been Cork and Valentia.

"Slane had been more or less average but not great. Belmullet and the west have been poor enough and Ballyhaise has been average. None of them have been good but the midlands were the least worst," he said.

Sunshine aside, the greatest blow to our summer has been the significant rainfall.

Once again Dublin and the east coast got off the lightest with rainfall about average while Cork, the south and southwest have been battered.

"Rainfall for most parts of the country is significantly up. Some areas have already got more than a month of rain, some are looking at one-and-a-half to two times the average monthly rainfall," said Mr Fleming.

"The south and southwest has been the worst for rain. Dublin and the east were not so badly affected.

Rain

"It has not been great as compared to the last couple of summers but it hasn't been the worst.

Read more: How to avoid a holiday from hell

"But Cork has experienced about 128mm of rain already. It would only expect 90mm for the whole month," he said.

The north and northwest were also well up on rainfall while the rest of the country has remained around average.

"I always think August is oversold, the weather is often wet and changeable.

"September is traditionally relatively dry. April and September are our dry months," Mr Fleming added.

Irish Independent

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