Long hot summer, but not a Northern Ireland record breaker says Met Office

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 3rd June 2018''As the good weather continues across Northern Ireland people take advantage of the sunshine at Helen's Bay Co. Down. ''Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 3rd June 2018''As the good weather continues across Northern Ireland people take advantage of the sunshine at Helen's Bay Co. Down. ''Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Despite getting off to a blistering start, the Northern Ireland summer of 2018 just wasn’t hot enough to break the ‘average temperature’ record set in 1995.

It was, however, a record-breaking year for England with a glorious 679 hours of sunshine, and an average temperature of 17.2C, over the last three months.

Based on weather data complied from June 1 - August 31, the new Met Office figures show Northern Ireland enjoyed 510 hours of sunshine with an average temperature of 15.1C.

The warmest Northern Ireland summer on record was 1995 with an average of 15.5C.

The UK as a whole has been declared the joint warmest on record – along with 2006, 2003 and 1976 – with an average temperature of 15.8C

England’s previous best average was the 17C set during the fondly remembered long hot summer of 1976.

Summer 2018 was notably dry and sunny too, although the dry, sweltering conditions seen in much of the country in June and July gave way to a much more average August, the Met Office said.

To the nearest 0.1C, all four of the UK’s hottest years – 2018, 2006, 2003 and 1976 – saw an average temperature for the summer of 15.8C (60.4F).

In the Central England Temperature (CET) series, which only covers an area of central England but dates back to 1659, this summer slips behind 1976 and 1826 for the hottest June to August.

Only 10 summers in the CET series have recorded average temperatures above 17C, six of which have occurred since 1976 and only two of which were pre-20th century.

This is consistent with the general picture of the climate warming globally and in the UK, the Met Office said.

Summer 2018 was also notably dry and sunny. For the UK it is likely to finish in the top 15 driest summers, and top five driest for England. It is also in the top five sunniest for the UK.

The hottest average summer temperatures in Scotland and Wales are 14.1C (2003) and 16.1C (1995) respectively.

A hosepipe ban was introduced across Northern Ireland on June 29 following one of the driest spells in decades.

It was lifted three weeks later on July 19.

At the time, NI Water said the ban was necessary as demand for water had reached almost three quarters of a billion litres per day – around 30% above average for the time of year.

A number of rural, high lying areas, as well as parts of Belfast and Armagh, were particularly badly affected and experienced loss of pressure and intermittent water supply failures.

The Met Office forecasters have said the autumn looks set to get off to a good start, with high pressure dominating the UK’s weather.

Warm, dry and sunny days are expected for many areas in the first part of September.