Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Northern Ireland feeling hot, hot hot as temperatures soar... but cold front hits tomorrow

Cooling down at Warrenpoint harbour
Cooling down at Warrenpoint harbour
Cooling down at Warrenpoint harbour
Cooling down at Warrenpoint harbour
Sun brollies at Helen's Bay in Co Down
Ice cream sellers doing a roaring trade
Ben Ritchie and his little sister Charlotte building sandcastles
Whiterocks beach in Co Antrim
Larking around in the sea at Portstewart

It was the warmest day of the year so far with Magilligan in Co Londonderry topping the charts at a sweat-inducing 27.6C – and we can expect some more glorious sunshine today.

Andy Ratcliffe, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, told the Belfast Telegraph that Northern Ireland will enjoy temperatures of around 26C before the outlook changes.

"Friday will be a dry day with quite a lot of sunshine," he said.

"On Saturday things start to change. We are looking at a cold front coming from the north west that will bring outbreaks of rain and temperature-wise only highs of 20C to 21C.

"Sunday will be a breezy day with a risk of showers and longer spells of rain. Highs will be around 18C to 19C."

To keep cool in the scorching heat at Belfast Zoo the western lowland gorillas have swapped their usual diet of fruit, shoots, bulbs and bark for tasty ice lollies and frozen fruit.

Ryan and Leigh Smith, from Ligoniel, brought their children Joseph and Catherine to the north Belfast attraction for a family day out yesterday.

"It's been a really good day," Ryan said.

"The weather really makes it."

Fiona and John Clegg, from Ballymena, brought daughters Myla and Emmie to the zoo to check out the giraffes and penguins.

"Emmie's favourite bit is watching the penguins under the water.

"The weather is so lovely," Fiona said.

The high temperatures are providing a welcome boost for some businesses too.

David Wilson, managing director of Maud's Ice Cream, told the Belfast Telegraph it has sold 36 tonnes of ice cream in the last five days, with Pooh Bear's Delight accounting for 40% of total sales.

"Our cold stores run at -22C and give a nice place to hide when it's so hot, not that we get much time for hiding, though," he said.

"This is the weather we eagerly wait for every year.

"Boy does it make the ice cream fly out the door!

"Sales are up 635% compared to winter months with almost 36 tonnes of ice cream sold in the last five days. We are estimating a further 18 tonnes by Sunday.

"That is in excess of 500,000 cones this week."

Meanwhile, Dr Miriam McCarthy from the Public Health Agency said it was important to be mindful of your health during sunny weather.

"Being active outside during the summer is good for your health and we want families to enjoy being outdoors during periods of good weather," she said.

"We do, however, need to be aware that the sun can cause permanent damage to the skin.

"We would ask that everyone takes steps to avoid sunburn.

"One episode of sunburn doubles the lifetime risk of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer."

How to stay protected in sun’s glare

There are a number of simple steps that will protect you against the sun’s harmful rays:

  • Seek shade when the sun is at its strongest — generally 11am to 3pm.
  • Cover up in the sun with a long sleeved T-shirt, sunglasses and a hat.
  • Use sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 for UVB protection and 4-star for UVA protection. Apply liberally 30 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply at least every two hours.
  • Drink enough water to keep hydrated during warmer spells, whether here, at home, or on holiday.

Source: Public Health Agency NI

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