Belfast Telegraph

Fermanagh: Why does it always rain on us?

By Lisa Smyth

If you live in Fermanagh you could be forgiven for thinking it never rains but it pours.

November saw the worst flooding in the county’s history after weeks of seemingly relentless torrential rain pushed water levels in Lough Erne to record highs.

And just as householders and businesses throughout Fermanagh were getting back to normal, the cold snap rolled in bringing sleet, snow and ice.

Yesterday morning, people across the county woke up to a blanket of snow while the rest of Northern Ireland continued on as normal, oblivious to the latest weather-induced misery in the west of the province.

So, has Fermanagh just been unlucky or is there a reason why it has been subjected to such harsh weather in recent months, while the rest of the province has come through the winter largely unscathed?

At the time of the floods, when there were only a few dry days over a six week period, the Rivers Agency said the situation was a one in 1,000 years event.

Meanwhile, the Met Office has told the Belfast Telegraph there is no real scientific explanation for the weather patterns, but admitted Fermanagh has been particularly affected in recent months.

Barry Gromett, a forecaster and spokesman with the Met Office, explained: “It is largely down to the fact that Enniskillen has been unlucky. When trying to establish why there was so much rain in November and was so cold in December and January, there ac

tually isn’t really any particular reason for it.

“In terms of the overnight snow this week, it is down to the combination of cold air and slightly less cold air in the area but there is nothing topographical to make any difference between Fermanagh and the rest of Northern Ireland.

“There are no particularly high hills in the area, in fact it is mostly low lying lakeland, although it is quite exposed which may go some way to explain the weather.

“In addition, it is not in rain shadow which means it probably does get any rain coming its way.”

And while very little can be done about the weather, Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA Tom Elliott said improving the infrastructure would go a long way in ensuring businesses and residents do not suffer as badly in future.

“I was in Boston a while ago and there was lots of snow but they just got on with it,” he said.

“We just don’t have the equipment or the infrastructure to deal with extreme weather conditions.”

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