So, will it rain for 40 days and 40 nights?
Some parts of West Cork have woken up this morning to the first rainfall that has been seen here in over six weeks and it has generated some mild fascination as the blue skies of recent months take their leave of us – temporarily, we hope!
Farmers and gardeners will breathe a sigh of relief as the soft rain soothes the scorched countryside and will promote some growth of grass, crops and plants – although it will take a lot more than this to reverse the damage done by the drought conditions we have been experiencing for the past month.
Water conservation advice still needs to be heeded and the Irish Water hosepipe ban remains in place until the end of July at least.
For those who are superstitious, the bad news is that this urgently-needed rain has arrived on St Swithin’s day and legend has it that whatever the weather is on that day will persist for 40 days:
St Swithin’s Day, if it does rain
Full forty days, it will remain
St Swithin’s Day, if it be fair
For forty days, t’will rain no more
Swithin was the Bishop of Winchester in Anglo-Saxon times and died in 862AD. His dying wish was to be buried outside Winchester Cathedral, however more than 100 years after his death – on this day in 971 – his remains were removed to an elaborate shrine to him within the cathedral.
Legend has it that rain storms which started that July 15th lasted for 40 days and 40 nights to signify St Swithin’s displeasure at the move from beyond the grave!
Met Éireann uses science rather than superstition to forecast the weather and, even though it will become fresher during the coming week with temperatures dropping to the high teens and small amounts of rain, there is still no sign of a major break in the weather.
Today, it will be cloudy and very humid and close with rain at times. The rain will be mostly light but it will be persistent in places. There will be drier periods also.
Misty on hills and coasts with the risk of fog. Afternoon temperatures of 18 to 22 degrees Celsius in moderate south to southwest winds, fresh on the coast. Fresher, drier, clearer conditions will develop in the evening in western areas with sunny spells to end the day.
The rain and drizzle in eastern areas will clear early tonight and the night will turn much fresher and mostly dry with clear periods and just some scattered showers affecting western counties later in the night. Lowest temperatures of 10 to 12 degrees Celsius.
Tomorrow (Monday) will be a bright fresh day with sunny spells and scattered showers. Afternoon temperatures of 17 to 19 degrees Celsius, possibly 20 degrees Celsius in a few places. Winds will be moderate occasionally fresh westerly, in some western parts.
The Atlantic will dominate our weather through the coming week, however there will be no significant rainfall amounts during the early days of the week to alleviate the very high soil moisture deficits. There are signs of some more rainfall in places on Tuesday and again on Thursday evening and early Friday.
However, early indications are that drier conditions will return over next weekend with more sunshine and temperatures rising to the low 20s once again. â¨