Sunday 17 December 2017

Heatwave on horizon after weekend of floods and sun

Holidaymakers enjoy some pleasant surfing at St. Finan's Bay with Skellig Michael in the background in County Kerry on Sunday. Picture: Don MacMonagle
Holidaymakers enjoy some pleasant surfing at St. Finan's Bay with Skellig Michael in the background in County Kerry on Sunday. Picture: Don MacMonagle
Delighted punters watched six little piggies and their woolen jockies take part in the annual pig racing at the 38th Festival of the Erne.
Howth Fisherman Brendan Lynch taking part in the net mending competion during the Castletownbere Festival of the Sea. Photo: Niall Duffy
A pirate raft at the Kinsale RNLI Raft Race on Saturday Picture. John Allen

Sam Griffin

Met Eireann says another heatwave could make a welcome return after the bank holiday weekend produced a mixed bag with torrential rainfall in the east and stone-splitting sunshine in the south.

Forecasters have predicted an end to the downpours that prompted a series of orange weather warnings and caused isolated flooding in parts of the east and Midlands. "We had 89mm of rain recorded in Dublin Airport with 83mm in Mullingar," forecaster John Eagleton said.

"These are huge amounts of rain. For these amounts to fall in two days is an awful lot of rain, which we don't get around this time of year normally."

The downpours, which moved across the country from west to east, hit Dublin hardest, with spot flooding reported in a number of towns along the coast, including Malahide, Clontarf and Raheny. DART services were affected for a time as was traffic on the M1 near Swords, where lanes were closed for a number of hours.

Gardai issued several flood warnings over the weekend. Two people being detained in Ballymun garda station had to be evacuated when a small amount of flood water entered the station. Gardai later said the move had been precautionary and the station was running as normal yesterday.

Orange weather warnings were also in place in Tipperary and Waterford.

But Met Eireann advised the flood damage could have been worse had the rain not arrived following "a long, dry spell of weather".

"It's been an extreme event but because the ground is dry, the drains are clear and the rivers low, there hasn't been as much pooling of water as we would otherwise expect," Mr Eagleton added.


Other parts of the country enjoyed much better weather, with some sunny spells in the south and parts of the west. The north also escaped the kind of flooding that blighted the east of the country.

"The rain didn't hit everywhere and it's been very mixed this weekend right across the country. The rain never affected the south west or Munster to any great extent. It was actually quite bright in places like Kerry and Cork at times," Mr Eagleton said.

Cobh Tourism's Hendrick Verwey said the town had enjoyed "beautiful conditions" on Saturday and Sunday. "It was easily 20C. The ferries to Spike Island have been doing a roaring trade all weekend," he told the Irish Independent.

And while the outlook for the rest of the week is a mixture of sunshine and lighter rain, the long-term forecast offers more reasons to be cheerful, particularly for sun worshippers who had packed away the shorts and sun cream for another year.

"Next weekend is doing all sorts of things . . . but one thing that we're seeing is a real jump in temperatures, with the possibility of them hitting 23C or even 24C next week and beyond," Mr Eagleton said. "There is high pressure to the north and it's very warm over Scandinavia. Some of that is pushing down. It's a case of whether that pushes down or the wet weather from the south pushes up.

"It would be a bit premature to say we're definitely looking at another heatwave but certainly we shouldn't give up hope. If we were seeing a total run of wet weather, there would be little hope, but the high pressure is there so it could develop over Ireland."

Irish Independent

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