Friday 1 January 2016

Avanti 2016

G'day, g'day, it's Friday the 2016.  
We've just had the wettest December in Ireland "since records began".  The clipped chart shows monthly rainfall in mm for Oak Park, Carlow and Johnstown Castle, Wexford.  We live almost exactly halfway between these two agricultural research stations. It's mainly because of Storm Desmond 05/Dec/2015 and Storm Frank 29/Dec/2015. Desmond went through the country dumping unprecedented amounts of rain in the West of the country; most of which found its way into the Shannon over the next several days causing floods in Athlone and the outskirts of Limerick. Elsewhere the usual suspects like Bandon, Co Cork and Clonmel were underwater as well. Des then went to England, sucking up more wet from the Irish sea to deliver 340mm of rain at Honister Pass in Cumbria - that's was a new 24hr UK rain record.  Frank came a lot closer to us in the Sunny South East, the R. Slaney burst itself in Enniscorthy and topped over the new bridge.  That says - again - that the new bridge was designed, too low, by an imbecile who hadn't read his weather records: instead of letting water off down to the sea it blocks flow to deliver it to Templeshannon Quay
It was a lot more dramatic on the R. Barrow at Graiguenamanagh, where the Duiske stream tumbles down through the medieval town at the back of the shops lining Main Street. Lots of narrows and culverts to get blocked if the flow is mighty and a few bushes or plastic bags get caught.  As seen [L] the water came through the backs of the houses and exited through the front doors turning the street into a surf park.  On the quays below the Barrow rose inexorably until the cruisers appeared to be moored in midstream, it hasn't been like this since . . . 2009, oh and in 2008 . . . Successive Irish governments have shirked the responsibility to deal with rainfall and flooding in wet ould Ireland.  We now have a fancy new motorway system but we have dozens of substantial towns whose central business premises are uninsurable because they are too frequently under water.  Maybe we're all expected to pile into cars and do the weekly shop in a mall 50km away off Exit 9 of the M11. A good dose of Machiavelli is required to deal with the conflicting interests.  Farmers down stream from Clonmel don't want to have their fields under 2 meters of water every third Winter - it compresses the soil something awful, but they may have to suck it up to benefit 100 fellow-citizens upstream who sleep with gumboots next to the bed.

Met Eireann is promising us another 3 weeks of successive tropical storms with rain and wind.  Seems like so far I was naive/wrong about the Gulf Stream being blocked by melt-water from Greenland ice-fields.

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