Ulster set to look on the sunny side this weekend

Enjoying the Easter sun at Seapark, Holywood are Hannah, Jenna and Morgan
Enjoying the Easter sun at Seapark, Holywood are Hannah, Jenna and Morgan

It appears that Northern Ireland is going to be in for a sunny and spring-like Easter weekend, according to forecasts.

Yesterday temperatures rose to as high as 16.3C in Castlederg according to a provisional Met Office report, while in Belfast crowds flocked to soak up the sunlight at City Hall.

A similarly happy picture appears to be on the cards for today and tomorrow, and the Met Office’s Stuart Brooks said it looks like this will be “one of the best Easters we’ve had for a while”.

According to Gemma Plumb, forecaster with private weather agency MeteoGroup, today will be much like yesterday – dry and fine.

Plenty of sunshine was forecast, though it may not be as sunny as Friday, and temperatures are expected to rise to around 14 degrees Celsius.

On Sunday some areas are expected to have a foggy, misty start to the day, but this should lift later to leave another fine day – this time with temperatures of between 14 and 16C.

Monday is expected to be cloudy with some patchy rain, with sunshine beginning to peak through in the afternoon.

Despite the cloudier outlook, temperatures are forecast to reach up to 17C, with the most likely hot spots being in the west of the Province.

However, when it comes to Tuesday, Ms Plumb said: “It’s a bit uncertain, but it’s looking rather cloudy with some out breaks of rain – any they could be heavy at times, especially in the morning”.

Temperatures again are set to be fairly balmy though, rising up to 16C.

This weekend’s forecast is welcome news for traders whose businesses thrive on warmer weather.

Alfie Quigley, 41-year-old street manager for Titanic and City Tours, was pounding the pavements of Belfast City Centre to drum up business yesterday – and despite the heat he and his staff were clad in ties and big red jackets.

“No-body is allowed to take off their jacket – people have to see who you are,” said the south Belfast man.

“It’s great for business, and plenty of people, even local people, want to do a city tour because we don’t get sunshine that often, and they all like the open top bus”.

On sunny days, he said, customer numbers can be up by 30 per cent.

Alicia Lundy, 18 and from east Belfast, is an ICT student who was yesterday at work during the lunch rush at the De Niros ice-cream kiosk at City Hall.

She said she had been scooping so much ice-cream she was getting a dead arm.

She said: “Today’s been super-busy. From 12.30pm I’ve just been flat-out, I haven’t stopped. I’m hoping it will keep up. I don’t mind it – it makes the time fly.”

Asked what she’s hoping for in the days ahead, she said: “Sun. Lots of it. Lots and lots.”