Friday 30 September 2016

Wettest August in 22 years and more to come

Stephen O’Farrell

Published 19/08/2008 | 07:31

Locals living in apartments by the Barrow had to be brought to work by Civil Defence inflatable boats after floods swept Carlow Town
Locals living in apartments by the Barrow had to be brought to work by Civil Defence inflatable boats after floods swept Carlow Town
IFA national grain chairman Colum McDonnell with some crops in danger from rain
Local Green Party TD Mary White (left) and Environment Minister John Gormley talk to Padraig Cahill of Carlow Civil Defence
Winnie Dalgarno and her assistant Tanya Byrne at her flooded pet shop
A tractor and trailer was used to ferry people from flooded flats in Carlow
Emergency workers rescue a car that had been submerged on the Belfast M1 underpass

IT will hardly come as much of a surprise, but Ireland is officially suffering one of the wettest Augusts since records began.

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New Met Eireann figures show rain levels have already reached 177.7mm at Dublin Airport, smashing the 22-year-old record of 158.7mm.

It has already more than doubled the August average of 71.1mm and could yet come close to tripling it.

There are still 12 days left in the month and numbers are set to soar even higher as the dreary weather continues.

Shannon Airport (156.2mm) and Birr, Co Offaly (144.4mm) are also way over their August averages of 82.4mm and 78mm respectively.

Elsewhere, Valentia Observatory in Co Kerry has posted 121.6mm of rainfall so far this month, over 10mm more than its August average.

And Cork Airport recorded 112.6mm of rain with an average of 89.9mm.

Ireland's most northerly point, Malin Head, has reached 92.6mm, 1mm over its average. The four other stations with recordings for August – Belmullet, Casement, Claremorris and Mullingar – were all also above average.

The onslaught of downpours this summer largely mirrors the weather of summer 2007. Last year's rainfall figures for August were also generally above average.

Dublin Airport recorded 95.5mm in 2007, Shannon Airport posted 100.6mm, Birr had 145.2mm and Malin Head had 92.4mm.


Climatologist and hydrologist, Dr Conor Murphy at NUI Maynooth said temperature changes were largely to blame for the deluges. But he revealed the high pressure system associated with summer time had gone missing for the last two years.

“What's happening is we are having an onslaught of depressions coming in from the Atlantic,” he said.

“They originated in Newfoundland where sea surface temperatures are five degrees higher than normal.

But certain factors like “the warm sea surface could be associated with climate change”.

“We can expect much more extreme conditions with massive flooding similar to that seen in Carlow around every five to ten years in about 20 years,” Dr Murphy warned.

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