Irish people are obsessed with the weather and put too much stock in forecasts from the Met Office, a leading meteorologist has claimed.
Dr Aidan Nulty was defending pessimistic forecasts for last weekend and the early days of last week which turned out to be substantially incorrect. Widespread rain and flooding was forecast but, for the most part, the sun shone and the temperatures were mild.
"For such a small country it really does vary from place to place and it is impossible to give any kind of long-range forecast," said Nulty, a familiar figure to viewers of RTE's weather forecast. "Irish people obsess just a little bit too much when it comes to the weather, although to some degree it is understandable given this is our third wash-out summer."
The Met Office has not been the only forecaster which has got it wrong this year.
In its long-term forecast for the summer months, issued in May, the British Met Office anticipated a "barbecue summer" – something which weeks of rain have put paid to. The forecast persuaded many, now very angry and frustrated, British people to holiday at home.
With some of the most advanced equipment available to our weather experts, why are they so often inaccurate? Meteorologist Ray McGrath says the recent run of unpredictable weather for meteorologists is connected with climate change, though even that can't explain it.
"There has been speculation that the recent run of bad summers is connected to climate change. However, it must not be forgotten that our climate has a natural variability that is independent of recent tinkering with the earth's environment."
Whatever the cause of this third unpredictable summer in a row and the equally confusing forecasts, Ireland will have to suffer in damp silence again and maybe take Met Eireann's advice not to put so much stock in their warnings. For the record, the forecast is not good. "Though the weather has improved we do not see any prolonged fine spells for the summer ahead", Aidan Nulty said. "It will be reasonable."