Belfast Telegraph

Wet, wet, wet

Weather forecasters warn: expect more rain

By Linda McKee

The bad news? We're in an endless cycle of rain and blustery gales.

The bad news? We're in an endless cycle of rain and blustery gales.

The good news? There isn't any for sun worshippers in Northern Ireland.

The brief spring interlude of blazing sunshine and clear skies is all but forgotten and instead it has been rain, rain and more rain for the last few weeks.

Last week, gusty showers put the dampeners on the Hillsborough Castle garden party held for Princes Charles and his wife Camilla.

And yesterday, the final stages of the £1.5m Nissan Irish Open were delayed as persistent rain left parts of the Colin Montgomerie-designed K Club course under water.

If you're a resident of the southern part of the UK, there is a glimmer of hope and you may see a bright Bank Holiday weekend, says Chris Blowes of forecasters Weather Commerce Ltd.

But for the rest of us, the showers are set to continue, he warns. Apparently it's all the fault of the jetstream.

"The jetstream is quite low across the UK at the minute," Chris says.

"You get a lot of complex low pressure which forms normally to the west of Ireland and the low pressure produces weather fronts which are the boundaries between warm and cold areas."

At the moment, we're experiencing a series of weather fronts producing a series of depressions - what's known as a conveyor belt system.

"Until a high pressure system can build from another direction, you just get a seamless run of weather fronts bringing rain and gales and thunder and not very nice conditions. It's just a natural phenomenon," Chris explains.

The blustery rain will continue at least for the next week, he adds.

"We are probably looking towards the Bank Holiday weekend before there is any significant change at all, probably in the southern half of England and Wales. In the northern half it will still be quite blustery and showery."

April and May tend to be quite showery most years, with the transition from winter to summer bringing spring gales.

You usually get two or three windows of rainy, windy weather in that period, but this year it's more intense, Chris says.

"This time it tends to be more recurrent and that is just because the jetstream is quite low at the minute," he says.

"It doesn't mean that from now on it's going to be like this all the time. It's probably a one-off this year.

"It could improve in the last week in May. But before that, lots of rain and showers will be coming through - it's just weather front after weather front.

"They slow down and they speed up - the cold front moves more quickly than the warm front."

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