independent

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Postman predicting unsettled weather

David Looby

Published 11/02/2014 | 05:38

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Michael Gallagher

DON'T GO putting away your winter woollies just yet, as Ireland's most famous amateur weatherman has predicted a snowy and cold run up to St Patrick's Day for people across the county.

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Donegal postman Michael Gallagher is predicting a lot of wind, rain and snow in the coming weeks.

Michael is famous for his forecasts through studying the behaviour of plants and animals. He said a lot of the problems people in coastal communities around Ireland are as a result of bad planning and building too close to the coast and to rivers.

Michael said it was noteworthy that the wild geese fled Ireland earlier last year than normal, in November, adding that an orange glow from the sun that old people used to always associate with heavy falls of snow was visible prior to Christmas and the bushes were heavily laden with berries for birds to feed on during the cold weather.

He said the weather won't be as cold as in 2011 but Wexford people should be bracing themselves for some very unsettled weather, possibly up until April.

Michael still gathers knowledge and information from old people on his postal round in the hills of Glenfin in Donegal. He said his knowledge was handed down to him through the generations long before Met Eireann was making its predictions.

Flying in the face of settled weather predictions in the short to medium term by Met Éireann, Michael said: 'No matter what they say about the Met Éireann office nature has a much better understanding of weather patterns and of exactly what is happening. The weather will be very unsettled with a lot of rain, wind and snow.'

He predicts stormy days ahead, which will mean the snow won't stick to the ground, but said if the wind turns and we get a bad weather front from the east there could be snowy weather, making for difficult driving conditions.

Michael said he is very sorry for everyone in Co Wexford who has been badly affected by the recent flooding, adding that there is no point blaming anyone. He believes the faulty lies squarely with bad planning going back centuries in Ireland.

'We have a habit of building far too close to rivers. By doing this we are interrupting the flow of nature. These rivers have been there for thousands of years and they are there for the animals and the fish; then if anything happens these properties the blame games starts.'

Michael, whose book 'Traditional Weather Signs' is a bestseller, cost bookmaker Paddy Power more than €70,000 when they paid out early on a white Christmas which he predicted some years back.

He predicted our hot summer last year, but said it is still too early to say what this summer will bring.

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