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Sunday 18 February 2018

Farmers in crisis as summer deluge strands crops in field

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

MET Eireann yesterday revealed that records indicate some parts of the country had experienced three times June's average rainfall.

The miserable weather has left farmers at crisis point as they try to harvest the silage crop, while tourists have been left huddling from what seems like almost constant rain.

Flood-stricken householders in Cork are still cleaning up after drains and rivers failed to cope last week when the equivalent of three weeks of rainfall -- about 50mm -- fell in the space of two hours.

More than half of the homes and businesses in Cork city face the prospect of being left without flood insurance after the second major deluge in just three years.

Claims in Cork city after last Thursday's flash floods are expected to run to €20m.

Met Eireann's weather stations around the island recorded a "significantly" higher volume of rainfall during June compared with the average figures for the month.

"Irish people expect good summer weather but we don't normally have good summer weather, it is normally a bit unsettled," Met Eireann forecaster Gobnait McSweeney said. "I don't know if we have rose-tinted sunglasses."

At Dublin Airport, there was 147.7mm of rain recorded during the month -- in comparison, during a typical June month, about 55-60mm would be recorded there.

The rainfall total for May at the weather station was 60.4mm, and 90.2mm fell during April.

"It has been significantly higher -- over two, and nearly three times the average," she added.

Ms McSweeney said there had been a couple of spells where extremely high volumes of rainwater had fallen.

Moving northwards, in Belmullet, Co Mayo, 110mm fell during June -- up from 52.1 in May.

At Knock Airport, precisely 230.1mm descended -- more than three times the total of 70.1mm recorded in May.

"There has been a lot of rain during the month of June and it doesn't look like it is going to settle for the next week either," Ms McSweeney said.

The extent of the rainfall -- which was particularly heavy in parts -- caused extensive flooding in parts of Cork and Belfast city.

Devastation

An ESB substation in Douglas, Cork, was shut down due to the extent of the flooding last week, which meant 15,000 people were without power.

Pubs in Douglas village were left under several feet of water while flood waters caused devastation as it swept through homes.

In Belfast, cars were submerged during the huge downpour last week as forecasters issued amber weather warnings.

The final figures for the month of June are likely to be totted up today as all of the weather station figures are collated by Met Eireann for the month.

Meanwhile, it will remain changeable and unsettled over the next week with more rain moving up across the country from the south coast.

A low pressure area is expected to deliver more showers, with the south and east bearing the brunt, Ms McSweeney said.

Irish Independent

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