Tuesday 22 October 2019

High pressure, rising slowly

'The weather is much more unpredictable than it used to be, isn't it?' (Stock image)
'The weather is much more unpredictable than it used to be, isn't it?' (Stock image)
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

It seems like a nice day. It should be a nice day. The indicators are good. The figures, on paper, are good. Temperatures are high, we are told, even though many people can't actually feel it in their own areas, in their own backyard. And while there is a bit of sunshine here and there, a lot of the time it's quite heavy. You could even say that for some it still feels a little oppressive around the place. The air seems pregnant with something. There is an unsettling stillness, maybe a sense of a calm before the storm.

There are warnings, of course. There will be onshore breezes in the East, coming in from Britain. And there is potentially a major event on the way, a storm brewing in Italy that could spread across the continent. There are warnings from Met Eireann of thunder on the way. You can almost hear its distant rumble. The OECD is issuing warnings, too, of sharp rises in temperatures, even overheating, that could need a deluge to wash away the blood on the streets.

Housing is approaching highs not seen since the mythical summers of our youth, in the early 2000s, when we were free and innocent and thought that summer would never end.

But we ignore these warnings, from Met Eireann and the OECD, because in Ireland when the weather is fine, we think that it will stay that way forever.

There are warnings of flash flooding, too. But it's hard to believe that when the sun is shining. Could it really change that fast?

But then it feels like change is in the air. That unsettling stillness is full of tension. The men in grey suits are wondering if they are dressed for the weather to come, or do they need to think about changing.

The men in cassocks are starting to feel a bit hot under the collar too. Even those who denied climate change for a long time are starting to weigh up the evidence. Two to one in favour of changeable. And wasn't it climate change that wiped out the dinosaurs the last time?

Some of the men are wondering if they need to curtail their gas emissions. They might start to be seen as part of the problem. Storm Emma is refusing to go away. And Storm Vicky. And Storm Kate and Mary and all the other women. They are not subsiding. And they have a taste for it now, for laying waste to the past.

It seems like a nice day, a day to relax, get out and about, play a round of golf, have a few pints, have a picnic. But there's something in the air.

We need a good shower of rain at the least. Clear the air a bit. There are areas of high pressure, 1,000 millibars, rising slowly. Could be nothing. Or there could be stormy times ahead.

The weather is much more unpredictable than it used to be, isn't it?

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