When will it ever stop raining in Northern Ireland?

Wet, Wet, Wet aren’t on the radio as much as they used to be but the current weather seems to mounting a campaign for their return.

Friday, 5th February 2021, 4:00 pm
Updated Friday, 5th February 2021, 8:17 pm
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 3rd February 2021

Flooding on Balmoral Avenue in south Belfast after continuous rain overnight.  

Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 3rd February 2021 Flooding on Balmoral Avenue in south Belfast after continuous rain overnight. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

It seems like an eternity since the rain subsided and we last witnessed sunshine, though even that came with the caveat of snow and ice.

It’s nice weather for ducks people say – a species that also benefits from not being compelled to stay in their ponds, protect the NHS and save lives.

The question on everyone’s lips – apart from the obvious one of ‘when will lockdown end?’ – is ‘will it ever stop raining?’

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The answer, sadly, is not as straightforward as tomorrow at a quarter past 10.

In saying that the Met Office forecast is looking a lot more positive in terms of not having to wear full waterproofs in order to go outside to put something into the bin.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for some showers early in the day in the east of the Province but a lot of drier weather later in the afternoon and evening.

The chance of precipitation falls to just 10% having been over 95% for large parts of this past week.

It will still be rather cloudy and cool with a maximum temperature of six degrees centigrade.

The outlook for Sunday until Tuesday will see a mixture of bright spells (if anyone can remember what they look like) and a few showers in the east, turning wintry from Sunday with brisk easterly winds.

The persistent rain has not been making life easy for farmers.

Co Down farmer Stephen Heenan, who is chair for the Ulster Farmers Union Donard group, said farmers haven’t been able to start spreading slurry because their fields are waterlogged.

As of February 1 it became legal to spread slurry for the first time since October 14, but the only floodgates to open seem to have been from above.

The Clough man, who is also the current NI Chairman of the National Beef Association, said: “The ground’s that wet you can’t get out with the tankers onto it. The water table is full, the ground’s just saturated.

“I’ve a neighbour at the minute whose tanks are full and he can’t get his slurry out. He’s pulling his hair out.

“It’s the same all over.

“The only option you have is standing on the road or laneway and blowing it over a field. It’s all you can do.

“If they do get out and get it spread it’s getting washed straight into the rivers. That’s the problem.”

He said: “You can’t put slurry out until February 1, which I think is nonsense. You’ve a good dry day in January, good firm ground and you’re not allowed to spread it, yet come February 1 you can spread but the ground is saturated.

“It’s a decision made by the powers that be sitting behind a desk.”