Weather is better now than in a typical NI July

Sinead Laverty , Fiadh Dunlop, aged one, and Paula Fitzsimons with baby Lorcan Maguire enjoy the sunshine at Belfast Castle. 
Picture By: Arthur Allison/ Pacemaker Press
Sinead Laverty , Fiadh Dunlop, aged one, and Paula Fitzsimons with baby Lorcan Maguire enjoy the sunshine at Belfast Castle. Picture By: Arthur Allison/ Pacemaker Press

The almost perfect spell of weather in Northern Ireland this week is more likely to happen in May or June than in high summer, a weather expert has said.

John Wylie of the Met Office Northern Ireland has explained that it is not an illusion if we feel that weather at the height of the holiday season in the Province is rarely as good as it has been in recent days.

Crowds in the grounds of Belfast City Hall at lunchtime yesterday. Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye

Crowds in the grounds of Belfast City Hall at lunchtime yesterday. Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye

“May tends to be sunniest month of the entire year,” he told the News Letter. “We lose the westerly flow of weather for four weeks or so. There is a greater tendency of high pressure during the spring or early part of the summer.”

Crowds of people have enjoyed the sunshine in places ranging from the grounds of Belfast City Hall to Tollymore Forest Park in Co Down.

The fine conditions are set to continue today, but not be so good tomorrow before improving again tomorrow and early next week.

“Seven straight days of sunshine is a bit unusual here but not by any means unheard of,” Mr Wylie said.

Lunch and picnics were enjoyed at Belfast City Hall. Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye

Lunch and picnics were enjoyed at Belfast City Hall. Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye

“Fine weather is not unusual in May or early June. It is much less likely in July or August because the whole hemispheric weather patterns tend to reset to a more normal west to east movement from the Atlantic.”

Mr Wylie said that in about seven or eight years out of 10 the high summer period tends to bring unsettled weather to the British Isles, particularly the northwestern parts such as Northern Ireland.

The temperatures peaked at 23.2 Celsius at Derrylin in Fermanagh on Wednesday. The hottest place yesterday was Derrylin again 22.2C, followed by nearby Thomastown at 21.4C. On Monday Derrylin and Murlough in Co Down were joint top at 21.3C. Helen’s Bay on Tuesday hit 21.5 C.

“There will be a blip on Saturday, with cloudier weather and some showers,” Mr Wylie said. “Sunday is brightening up with some warm sunshine. Early next week resumes warm with sunshine.”

But there might be some thundery showers early in the week as well, Mr Wylie added.