Farmers' prayers could be answered with rain and cooler conditions on the cards for week ahead

Dairy Farmer Patrick Murphy celebrates the arrival of rain at his dairy farm at Timoleague, West Cork. Picture Denis Boyle
Dairy Farmer Patrick Murphy celebrates the arrival of rain at his dairy farm at Timoleague, West Cork. Picture Denis Boyle

Claire Fox and Ralph Riegel

Irish farmers’ prayers are expected to be answered this week with the return of cooler conditions and rain on the cards

According to Met Eireann rainfall for the coming week will be around normal for most of the country but is predicted to be above normal in the northwest. The bulk of this rain is expected on Friday or early Saturday.

A cooling in temperatures is expected from Tuesday with mean values dipping nearly 2 degrees into the negative.

Temperatures in most parts of the country will drop to 14C, the coldest it has been for two months.

Today will offer the best of the weather conditions but temperatures will slide from 25C to around 19C, though parts of Ulster and Connacht will see a chilly maximum of 15C.

Met Éireann warned that from this evening chilly conditions and showers will slowly begin to dominate Ireland's weather.

Temperatures on Thursday will reach a maximum of only 17C in Leinster, with other parts of Ireland facing a bracing maximum of only 14C.

Overnight temperatures will slide to only 7C in some places.

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However, it is the showers that will be the dominant feature of the week with rain, including some heavy showers, forecast from this evening right through until Friday, when there will be rain and blustery winds

The next several days will see reasonable amounts of sunshine, but Friday and much of Saturday will be mostly cloudy or overcast.

Next weekend also looks likely to be dominated by showers, some of which could prove quite heavy.

While the showers will come as a welcome boost to Irish Water and local authorities, there is no sign the hosepipe ban will be relaxed before the end of August.

Irish Water warned that substantial sustained rainfall is still needed to replenish water supplies nationwide. The scale of the summer-long drought is underlined by the fact one of Ireland's biggest rivers, the Blackwater in north Cork, can now be crossed in Fermoy via its weir, which has been totally exposed by low water levels.

Streams, rivers, lakes and reservoirs remain at very low levels due to the exceptionally dry conditions in June and July.

Restrictions on water use, aimed at preserving reserves, are expected to remain in place for several weeks.

Farm groups warned that the impact of desperately needed rain for crops could be undermined by colder temperatures which could inhabit grass and crop growth.

Fodder yields are already substantially down on 2017 levels.

Farm groups warned that prices for hay and silage have already soared across Ireland.

Fears are now mounting that even potential fodder imports could be hit given severe drought conditions in the UK and across Europe.

Online Editors

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