Belfast looks forward to the sunniest day of this week - but the rest of Northern Ireland is covered in cloud

Belfast will bask in blazing sunshine throughout today (Photo: Shutterstock)
Belfast will bask in blazing sunshine throughout today (Photo: Shutterstock)

Belfast will welcome the sunshine back with open arms today (Thursday 26 July), but elsewhere the country will be cloudy, giving way to rain later this week.

While temperatures remain in the low 20s across the board in Northern Ireland, the sun has declined to make an appearance in most locations today, aside from the capital.

Blazing sunshine in Belfast

Belfast locals can expect highs of 22C this afternoon, with clear skies and blazing sunshine throughout the day. Temperatures will begin to drop to the high teens from around 8pm, and some cloud will roll over an hour later.

While tomorrow looks set to be cloudy but dry in the city, heavy rain is expected over the weekend.

Cloudy elsewhere

Elsewhere - in Armagh, Omagh and Cookstown - residents will experience the same high temperatures as Belfast today, but with only a few sunny intervals.

Light rain will fall in Omagh from around 7pm, getting heavier as the evening goes on, but this will do little to cool things down.

Hail showers in the north

In the north west of the country, Londonderry is likely to experience some of Northern Ireland’s most dramatic weather today, as cloud gives way to rain and then hail showers in the evening. Temperatures between 20 and 23C are expected for much of the day.

Closer to the north coast, Coleraine will have a cloudy but hot day (peaking at 22C), with sunny intervals throughout. This will culminate in heavy rain at around 11pm, which will dry up before tomorrow.

Pay attention to UV rays

Anyone heading outside in Northern Ireland today should pay attention to the UV forecast in their local area. Whether it is extremely sunny or not, the majority of locations will experience high levels of UV radiation, and should protect themselves accordingly.

Sunlight is the main source of ultraviolet (UV) rays, which is why conditions are most dangerous on sunny days.

The aim of the UV index is to warn people of increased risk, and encourage them change their behaviour in order to protect themselves against the risks of skin cancer, skin damage and other health problems.

The position of the sun in the sky, cloud cover and ozone amounts in the stratosphere all play a part in determining the UV index each day.

The UV index does not exceed eight in the UK, but in locations like the Mediterranean, nine and 10 are common.