Northern Ireland has basked in heat but cooler weather will almost be a relief

News Letter editorial of Monday July 26 2021:

By Editorial
Monday, 26th July 2021, 5:36 am
Updated Monday, 26th July 2021, 6:00 pm
News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

Good weather is, and probably always will be, rare in Northern Ireland

Fine spells might last weeks, and might even last more than a month.

But sustained periods of warmth and sunshine are rare and are certain to end.

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The hot patch in the Province over the last 10 days has been completely without precedent.

Not only was the hottest ever temperature broken, reaching 31.4 Celsius, but the old record of 30.8C, which endured for almost 50 years, was broken three times in quick succession. Armagh Observatory said it recorded its hottest ever temperature since its own records began in 1794.

It seems unwise ever to hope that a warm spell ends in NI, and if this week is mild and damp as expected we might soon be longing for the proper summer weather that we have just enjoyed. Yet many people will be breathing a sigh of relief at the end of the super hot conditions.

The mercury has been in the high 20s almost everywhere in NI, day after day.

We are not geared up for the heat. Outdoor pools are not a feature of life, and few houses have air conditioning. Properties are built to retain the heat, not repel it.

This has made the hot conditions hard to avoid, and at times very uncomfortable.

There is also the worry that this unprecedented weather reflects a sudden and major shift in climate. Much of the world is experiencing similarly unprecedented conditions, including terrifying fires in western United States.

While many countries have much more to fear from climate change than Northern Ireland does, extremes of weather could de-stabilise much of the globe geographically and politically, which will not be a happy situation.

Meanwhile, locally we seem to have escaped a hosepipe ban but the need for prudent stewarding of our water supplies has been reinforced by this spell and won’t go away.

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Ben Lowry

Acting Editor