Tuesday 24 October 2017

Fair winds blow us a treat but bubble set to burst

Colin Gleeson

AFTER a weekend of ice cream and suntan lotion, it's time to shake out the waterproof ponchos and run for cover.

At least the sunny, clear blue skies of the past few days lasted right through the weekend but anyone relying on a few rays of sunshine to wash away those Monday blues had better look elsewhere.

Highest temperatures over the weekend were typically inland, with 23C recorded in Oakpark, Co Carlow and 22C in Gurteen, Co Sligo; Claremorris, Co Mayo; and Shannon Airport respectively.

Beaches around the country were thronged with families and young people determined to make the most of the sun.

In Duncannon, Co Wexford, the beach was the place to be on Saturday as a sand-sculpting festival took centre stage before a beach party afterwards.

Meanwhile, thousands of people descended on Borris, Co Carlow, for its annual fair.

As well as horse trading, the mile-long Main Street was lined with stalls selling a diverse range of merchandise.

The event is one of the biggest in the calendar for the Travelling community.

The reason for the weekend's fine weather was the Azores high -- a semi-permanent anti-cyclonic area in the Atlantic Ocean with relatively consistent high pressure -- which had pushed north over the country.

But it has now moved off and the country is once again "at the mercy of what comes in from the Atlantic", according to Met Eireann forecaster Eoin Sherlock.

"Unfortunately, the weather isn't going to last," he said yesterday.

"The area of high pressure blocks all the fronts and lows that come in, but when that declines and fades away, it allows low fronts to come in."

The first low front will be coming in from the west coast late this morning before "slowly trundling across the country".

"There'll be a lot of rain and it's going to be heavy and persistent at times," said Mr Sherlock. "The far east of the country might escape until the evening, but the air will be unstable and there will be scattered showers and sunny spells.

"On Wednesday, there will be another low that is going to move in from the south of Iceland and it will come in over our northwest. There's going to be a lot of rain and there's a possibility we'll have some thunderstorms on the west coast."

But all is not lost as there is a chance of more good weather before the onset of winter, according to Mr Sherlock.

"What we really need are these areas of high pressure that block the fronts. They are normally down over the Azores islands and then they creep up north. Once those things get in place, you could get up to a week of the weather we had at the weekend.

"It's quite likely we'll see more of it. It won't be next week, but hopefully we might get an Indian summer.

"At the start of September we might get another one. Hope springs eternal," he added.

Irish Independent

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