Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland weather: Rain arrives, and US storm could follow

By Jenna Gardiner

The prayers of our gardeners and farmers are set to be answered with rain due to arrive today.

The showers were due to hit western areas in the early hours, before making their way eastwards throughout the day and night.

It finally interrupts the heatwave that led to a hosepipe ban being put in place last month.

NI Water has welcomed the predicted rainfall, but does not anticipate that it will have the required impact on reservoirs to end the ban.

"The demand on water supply is reducing due to the sheer goodwill of the public who have avoided the hosepipe and who we hope have developed lifelong water-saving habits", the company said.

It added that the company did not intend to continue the ban for longer than necessary but must prioritise the supply of safe and clean drinking water for all customers.

NI Water also said it was continuously monitoring the situation, and that "the fine weather and a lack of rain will put an increased strain on our resources and our raw water".

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs also urged people to use water wisely.

Those with an urgent need for water - mainly farmers, small businesses and local councils - can benefit from a rapid response by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

The agency is doing its best to supply drinking water to animals.

It is also assisting farmers whose crops need irrigation and adding sprinkler systems to new recreational areas.

Looking further ahead, there are fears that a storm building in the United States could bring unsettled weather.

Nicola Maxey of the Met Office said that tropical storm Chris, which was gathering on the US east coast and is predicted to become a hurricane, "will influence the weather, but we cannot tell what that influence will be at the moment because it is still developing".

She added there was still "uncertainty" about the possible track it will take, and it would be an ex-hurricane by the weekend when its remnants may hit Ireland and the UK.

Fellow meteorologist Aidan McGivern, posting on the Met Office Facebook page, said: "By the weekend Chris is likely to join the jet stream and its remnants are likely to be carried towards the UK.

"Now, those uncertainties mean there are big differences in the forecast for the start of next week. One projection showing low pressure just to the west of the UK is bringing wind and rain, but on another Chris is barely there.

"One common theme emerging from the start of next week is that low pressure will be a little closer and the weather will turn more changeable than we have seen recently."

John Wylie, a Northern Ireland spokesman for the Met Office, said the weather would be a lot more unsettled as we head into next week as a result of tropical storm Chris, but all would not be lost.

He added: "It's not going to be a wash-out and the sun may still be shining."

Average summer temperatures are 19C (66F), but Ireland and the UK have seen the mercury rising over 10C above that.

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