Ireland faces drought and forest fire warnings after one of the driest springs on record

29 May 2020

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UK – IRELAND faces drought and forest fire warnings after one of the driest springs on record – and the prospect of a sultry June bank holiday weekend.

Met Éireann’s Evelyn Cusack said that Ireland is now looking for rain given the dry spring and the current hot spell with land in many areas “quite parched.”

If the dry spell continues without significant rain, Ireland could be facing into drought condition over the summer with likely controls on water usage nationwide. Ireland has now seen roughly 40pc less rain that five years ago with a number of key reservoirs already at relatively low levels.

Dublin and the east coast just had its mildest winter for 160 years.

It was also the warmest February on record with the highest ever winter temperature of 17.2C recorded on February 26.

Farmers have warned that the dry conditions have dramatically reduced silage yields due to lower than anticipated grass growth.

The Department of Agriculture and forestry service has already issued a Status Red forest fire warning with the combination of high
temperatures and tinder dry conditions posing a major risk of blazes.

Ms Cusack said that temperatures could soar to as high as 25C or even 26C this weekend as Ireland enjoys a mini-heatwave where the country will be hotter than southern Italy.

Forestry officials warned that there is to be no sources of ignition near woods – either barbecues or open camp fires even under controlled conditions.

Walkers have also been urged not to dispose of broken glass or metallic items that could also serve as an ignition source.

Concern over potential forest fires has been heightened by a forecast of blustery conditions across the south and west which could further fan any accidental fires in tinder-dry woodlands.

The warnings came as Ireland now faces into a sultry June bank holiday weekend.

Families have been urged to be careful of the intense sun by using protective sun creams and avoiding heat stroke through taking time in the shade and regular intakes of fluids.

So intense has been the sunshine over the past 48 hours that a number of farmers have reported animals being treated for sunstroke.

Gardaí have also warned that checkpoints will be maintained over the weekend to ensure householders comply with the 5km travel rule under the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown controls.

But the good news is that families can plan for picnics, barbecues and strolls in the sunshine until at least Tuesday as a glorious spell of
weather settles over Ireland.

Met Eireann’s Andrew Doran-Sherlock said some areas will see temperatures of 25C or possibly even 26C with the best of the conditions on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

“Saturday will be dry and sunny. It will be warm in most places with highest temperatures of 21C to 25C but again it will be cooler along southern and eastern coasts due to a light to moderate easterly breeze.”

“Sunday will be dry and sunny in most areas, although some cloud will develop during the afternoon and evening, especially in the northwest, and may bring the odd shower.”

“It will be warm with temperatures reaching between 21C and 25C but with an easterly breeze continuing, highest temperatures will be in the high-teens along southern and eastern coasts.”

“Monday will see some cloud and patchy rain in the northwest, but otherwise mostly dry and sunny.”
“However, the odd shower may break out during the afternoon and it will be another warm day with highest temperatures of 22C to 25C in light, variable breezes.”

“Tuesday looks like it will turn cooler andmore unsettled, particularly in the north and west and highest temperatures here will be 14C to 18C but still warm in the southeast with highs in the low twenties.”

However, settled conditions are expected to last until the end of next week.

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