Hottest NI June on record '“ and sun looks set to continue

Northern Ireland enjoyed its hottest June since records began in 1910, and the Met Office has said that the sunny weather looks set to continue.

Monday, 2nd July 2018, 8:13 pm
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:02 pm
The water level has fallen considerably at Spelga Dam, Co Down. Pic courtesy of www.newcastle-county-down.com

The start of July has been slightly cooler than the scorching end to June, but temperatures are still peaking in the mid 20s.

And according to the experts, they are set to rise again later this week.

The mercury hit 30C+ on three consecutive days at the end of last week – the first time that has happened in Northern Ireland for well over half a century.

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Robin Mercer, owner of Hillmount Garden Centre, has seen a rush on the purchase of watering cans. Pic by David Young/PA Wire

Indeed, the last time temperatures reached 30C+ was July 2013, and that was only on one day.

The Met Office has confirmed that it was the hottest June ever recorded in Northern Ireland, with the average mean temperature of 19.9C – 3.1 degrees above the average June high.

Even at nights, temperatures have been staying high in many places, with the highest overnight minimum recorded in parts of Northern Ireland last week approaching a balmy 17C, forcing many people to ditch the duvet.

Last month was also the fifth sunniest June in Northern Ireland, with 238 hours of sunshine recorded.

Four-year-old Willow Knocker from Belfast was among those having a splashing time amid the heat on Monday

“For many people 1976 is the summer that sticks out in their memory, but a lot of folk won’t remember that,” said meteorologist Bonnie Diamond.

“So this will be the first time many people in Northern Ireland will have seen such a hot, dry spell.”

The Met Office is predicting more fine weather in the coming days, with temperatures set to reach the mid to high 20s again by Thursday.

With the hot, dry weather having caused a significant drop in water levels at many reservoirs across the Province in recent weeks, NI Water has said whilst there is “plenty of water”, not enough is treated to cope with the current demand, which is 30% than normal.

An NI Water employee engaged in tanker refill. This operation is to support the replenishment of supply at one of a number of NI Water reservoirs.

“Customers are using the water faster than we can treat it and get it into supply. Please only use what you need to,” a spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, the utility company has again appealed to people to heed the hosepipe ban, which came into effect on Friday evening.

Anyone caught breaching the ban could potentially face a fine of up to £1,000.

Given that threat, there has been an unprecedented rush on another gardener’s friend – the watering can.

Cans of all shapes and sizes have been flying off the shelves across Northern Ireland as gardeners turn to more labour-intensive means to keep their plants and lawns hydrated.

Meanwhile, the Ulster Farmers’ Union says farmers here are making the most of the sunshine, even if it is presenting some problems in terms of the availability of water.