Tag Archives: weather


I had not realised that the times of the Met Éireann inland lakes weather forecasts, broadcast by the Coast Guard on VHF, had been changed. The times are now

10:15 repetition
16:15 repetition

MRCC Dublin, to whom I am grateful for confirming the new times, says

Standby on VHF Channel 16 for your local working channel.

In bygone days the Lough Derg and Lough Ree forecasts were five minutes apart, but now the initial call on Channel 16 is at the same time everywhere.

I found the new 10:15 broadcast to be particularly convenient.

Forecast format

However, one aspect in which I thought the Met Éireann forecasts (also available here) less useful than those from other sources (eg Windguru) is the absence of a forecast for wind gusts. On several occasions this year, the gusts were (a) almost continuous and (b) much stronger than the forecast wind speed. They thus had more influence on our trip planning than did the base wind speed. It would be nice if Met Éireann, and thus the Coast Guard, could include a forecast for gusts.

Hire boats

The hirers’ training materials I mentioned here give good advice about rough weather on lakes but, after seeing several hire boats cross Lough Ree in weather that kept us in harbour, I wondered whether the lakes forecasts are readily available to hirers. If they’re not, perhaps they could be transmitted daily by text message?

I should stress that I did not hear of any accidents caused by stress of weather, but some folk may have had uncomfortable trips.




I had been thinking that it was rather a windy summer on the Shannon, and  Met Éireann’s seasonal summary [select Year 2015 and Period Summer 2015 here to get a PDF] supports that view:

Seasonal wind speeds were the highest in at least six years at the majority of stations with records of up to 41 years exceeded at Shannon Airport (mean wind speed of 9.9 knots (18km/h)). Seasonal mean wind speeds ranged from 5.9 knots (11km/h) at Mullingar, Co Westmeath (its windiest summer in 11 years) to 13.8 knots (26km/h) at Mace Head, Co Galway (its windiest summer in 7 years).

Gale-force winds were reported on 9 days, with four of these days (June 1st, June 2nd, July 17th and August 3rd) reporting severe gales. Malin Head reported the seasons highest 10-minute mean wind speed and highest gust on June 1st with 47 knots (87 km/h) and 65 knots (120km/h), respectively, both the highest reported since the summer of 1988.

But what has caused this excess of wind? The learned Tyler Cowen reports today that there has been a shortage of wind in the Americas and that the amount of electricity generated by some wind farms has fallen.

Clearly, therefore, the missing American wind has ended up in Ireland, and the method of transmission is undoubtedly by the wind farms themselves. Just as the wind is caused by the waving of trees, so too is wind caused by the turbines of wind farms. And while American wind farms are set to blow, ours must be set to suck, thereby bringing American wind to Ireland.

They can have it back any time they like.



Closing the Shannon in winter

I pointed out some time ago that, in the Dáil on 16 October 2013, Jimmy Deenihan said:

The [budgetary] provision will enable Waterways Ireland to deliver on its core activities and targets, which include keeping the waterways open for navigation during the main boating season and promoting increased use of the waterways resource for recreational purposes.

That was the first time I noticed the suggestion that, in effect, boating in winter might be de-emphasised, as it were; the idea is followed up in the current draft of the Waterways Ireland Corporate Plan 2014–6. The proposal receives some support from the figures for Shannon traffic in the first three months of 2014.

I realise that, as the numbers are small, they can be affected by the high water levels, bad weather or the date of Easter, but those for 2014 are remarkably low. The totals for the first three months [Jan–Mar] since 2003 are:

2003  689
2004  536
2005 2229
2006  683
2007  825
2008 1449
2009  687
2010  567
2011  626
2012  736
2013  753
2014  260

All the usual caveats apply, notably that the figures do not capture boating that is confined to the lakes. Still, the 2014 figure is less than half the next lowest, and it’s the first time since 2003 that the figure has been below 500, 400 or 300.


A wet winter?

Today’s Irish Times reports on yesterday’s launch of a report called Ireland’s climate: the road ahead [92.9 Mb 103 page PDF here]. The report predicts:

  • Daytime summer temperatures to rise by up to 2°C
  • Lowest winter night-time temperatures to rise by 2-3°C
  • Milder winters to reduce cold-related mortality rates
  • Wetter winters and drier summers
  • Increase in frequency of heavy precipitation event.

Chapter 10 “Climate change and catchment hydrology” covers river flows.

Met Éireann’s report on summer 2013 [2 page PDF] is available here; rainfall was down [on the 1981–2010 average] at all stations except Valentia; temperature was up everywhere and so was sunshine. So perhaps we’ll have a wet winter to look forward to.

Mirabile dictu …

… it’s raining.

Royal water

The summit level of the Royal Canal has been closed until further notice because of shortage of water and the 34th and 35th levels have been closed until 20 April for emergency repairs. Marine Notices here, along with a general waarning about low water levels.

Met Éireann’s Monthly Summary for March 2012 [PDF] says:

Rainfall totals were relatively low for the time of year, with percentage of normal values below 50% in most locations. Mullingar [which is on the summit level of the Royal Canal] reported its driest March since 1961 (51 years), while most other stations reported their driest March in at least 7 years. Number of wet days recorded (days with 1 mm or more) was below average everywhere, with most stations measuring their lowest March maximum daily rainfall in seven to 39 years.

Can we have our normal weather back please? Or will that be coming in the “summer” months?

You don’t often see …

… a completely calm Lough Derg.

From Castlelough

From The Lookout 1

From The Lookout 2


Dromaan at night

Dromaan at night (December 2011)