Ben Lowry: Hot weather ought to be welcome in Northern Ireland but this is extreme
I remember when I was young my eldest brother pointing out that feeling after arriving for a summer vacation when you leave the air conditioned airport and step out to a wave of heat on the pavement, even at night.
It was that first firm sense that you had arrived somewhere with proper holiday weather.
It is never like this at night in Northern Ireland, he said. Not even on the hottest day of the year.
He was right —, even this past week has not quite been that warm at night. But on Thursday evening I stepped out of our Belfast office to near Mediterranean night time heat. It still was not the powerful wave you get in Spain, but almost.
Recent day temperatures in NI, of highs in the upper 20s Celsius or just past 30, would be respectable maximums for the Spanish costal resorts in July and August.
It is not exceptional for NI to reach such levels — most summers at some point there is some place that reaches 28C or beyond.
But what is exceptional is that this has been a sustained period of more than a week in which all of the Province has been seeing daily highs of the mid 20s C or beyond.
Even more stunning, is the way in which the record for the hottest temperature ever has been broken not once, but three times, within a small number of days. It is akin to something I wrote about earlier this month, how Canada had never before been above 45C, then within a week broke that record several times hit 49.6C.
Heat records used to be like athletic records — beaten rarely, and only by fractional margins. For example, our previous hottest record of 30.8C lasted for decades and was shared by two different years. Now we have beaten that three times in a week, and easily too (31.3C).
It is very rare that I am too warm to sleep in NI but I simply could not get my bedroom cool on Thursday night, with window open, and almost wanted to sleep outside. I never remember that before.
Much as I would love to see NI weather improve generally, this is all so extreme as to be unsettling.
• Ben Lowry (@Benlowry2) is News Letter deputy editor
Other articles by Ben Lowry below, and beneath that information on how to subscribe to the News Letter:
• Ben Lowry July 17: UK has tipped into an amnesty after a long approach to IRA that lacked bite
• Ben Lowry July 15: We should be honest as to how we have arrived at a Troubles amnesty
• Ben Lowry July 10: We will find soon if UK is for once going to criticise Ireland
• Ben Lowry July 10: I once always wanted England to lose, now I want them to win
• Ben Lowry July 3: The mild DUP response to the protocol will cause Boris little concern
• Ben Lowry June 26: Neither Dublin nor IRA have been put under any pressure on legacy
• Ben Lowry June 26: A slight sense of sadness as the days again begin to shorten
• Ben Lowry June 19: Somehow the appeasement of Sinn Fein got worse
• Ben Lowry May 22: Instead of ‘moving on’ from IRA funeral, we still need proper answers
• Ben Lowry May 22: If Joel Keys, 19, wants to help unionism he should get a law degree
• Ben Lowry May 15: Edwin Poots and Doug Beattie will offer two distinct shades of unionism
• Ben Lowry May 8: Formal UK ideas for an amnesty are almost exactly 20 years old
• Ben Lowry May 8: Let us hope that the brilliant Eoghan Harris keeps on writing
• Ben Lowry May 1: Unionism can’t just be about managing long-term defeat
• Ben Lowry April 17: DUP still has to choose between managing this disaster or total rejection of it
• Ben Lowry April 10: His enduring marriage to the Queen was key to our understanding of Prince Philip
• Ben Lowry Mar 20: We have made it through the worst of the dark, dreaded winter lockdown
• Ben Lowry Mar 20: MLAs lost control of abortion by rejecting modest law reform
• Ben Lowry Mar 13: Scotland tunnel isn’t fantasy, but something kids of today might see
• Ben Lowry Mar 6: The cost of victims’ pension has ballooned without explanation as to why
• Ben Lowry Feb 20: We still lack answers as to why IRA funeral got special treatment at Roselawn
• Ben Lowry Feb 13: Peter Robinson has long experience of what is and is not politically feasible
• Ben Lowry Jan 30: At last, clear reason for UK and unionists to stop being weak towards Ireland/EU
• Ben Lowry Jan 16: The Irish Sea border was imposed because UK knew unionists would take it
• Ben Lowry in 2020: Last night unionists celebrated a move towards Irish unity
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