National Ploughing organisers respond to Hurricane Helene fears - Photo: Clive Wasson
The organisers of the National Ploughing Championships, due to take place in Offaly next week, have responded to an early forecast for 'very disturbing weather' early next week.
Met Éireann said on Thursday that while a large degree of uncertainty still surrounds next week weather, it appears that a band of 'very disturbing weather' bringing wind and rain may arrive on Monday evening and Tuesday as the Ploughing gets underway in Tullamore.
The weather forecast centres on Hurricane Helene, currently brewing in the Atlantic, which looks likely to track towards Ireland as it weakens in strength in the coming days.
Speaking to the Offaly Express, a spokesperson for the National Ploughing Association said, "The NPA are in direct contact with Met Eireann on this and the very latest is that this is due to be downgraded to a tropical storm, with a view that it could dissipate altogether."
Asked if the site had been prepared to take extreme weather, the spokesperson said, "Due to last year’s adverse weather conditions on the site on the Wednesday, an effective drainage system has been constructed on the site this year."
"Additional metal roadway has been installed and all marquee contractors have been informed that they are to make provisions for any wind or rain," they added.
Last year, the Ploughing site experienced significant flooding after a deluge of rain on the Wednesday, but a site restoration effort meant the final day of the event went ahead as planned. The Ploughing, which was also held in Offaly last year, welcomed close to 300,000 people in 2017.
"The general public appreciates that the National Ploughing Championships is an outdoor event in Ireland in September and are advised to wear appropriate attire," the Ploughing spokesperson concluded.