Ulster’s scorching July hottest ever on record
By Ben Lowry
It was the warmest July on record in Northern Ireland last month, meteorologists confirmed yesterday.
The mean temperature for the Province was 17.0 Celsius (62.6 Fahrenheit).
This may sound low for summer, but the average is pulled down by the inclusion of night temperatures.
It was far above the typical July overall average for Northern Ireland of 14.6C, and notably warmer than the previous record of 2006, when the mean for the month was 16.7C.
The average daily maximum – the hottest point in the day – was 21.8C (71F), well over the July norm 18.2 (68F).
Northern Ireland experienced a July more like that typically seen in London, where the average maximum temperature is 23.1C (73.6F) – although London itself has had a heatwave, with temperatures far above its own norms.
In the Province, the temperature surpassed 25C (77F) on 13 of the 31 days last month, and it broke the 27C mark (80.6F) on eight of those days.
The hottest date, Friday, July 19, reached 30.1C (86.2F) in Castlederg, and 29.3C in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh. This was close to Northern Ireland’s all-time hottest of 30.8C (87.4F) in 1976 and 1983.
The Province breaks the 30C barrier typically only every five years or so on average.
The next hottest day last month was Monday, July 8, when it touched 29.9C in Edenfel, Co Tyrone, which was not only the hottest temperature in the UK that day, but the hottest recorded across Britain and Ireland this year to that date. It was later surpassed in England.
On Friday, July 12, thousands of Orangemen marched in the heat, with the mercury soaring across the Province, and hitting 29.1C (84.4F) in Thomastown, Co Fermanagh.
The previous day reached 28.8C in Castlederg, while on Tuesday, July 9 the maximum in Thomastown was 28.2C.
There was little indication of the weather to come at the beginning of the month. On July 2, the hottest temperature in the Province was a feeble 16.6C (61.9 F) in Castlederg.
Castlederg, which also holds Northern Ireland’s coldest ever temperature in December 2010, was the hottest place on 10 days last month.
Killowen in Co Down was hottest on five days, while Murlough, Magilligan and Helen’s Bay were each hottest on three.
John Wylie of the Met Office said: “Castlederg is a sheltered valley in the west of Northern Ireland which tends to result in very low temperatures in winter, and very high temperatures in summer.”
Armagh Observatory recorded its joint warmest July (with 1989) since records began in the 1800s. The 228 hours of sun was 66 per cent above the 30-year July average.
Meanwhile, Killowen was the Province’s hottest place yesterday at 23.1C (74F). Today is set to be showery but mostly dry with sunny spells. Tomorrow will be similar.