Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland warmer than the Med ... but these water babies and hot dogs know just how to keep their cool

By Linda Stewart

Northern Ireland just missed out on the highest temperature of the year so far, as the mercury hit 22.4C at Thomastown close to Lough Erne.

That made Northern Ireland warmer than Paris and Elba off the Tuscany coast, which both recorded 21C, and Sarajevo, which only made it to 20C.

And we were on a par with San Francisco, Lima in Peru and Pamplona in Spain, which all recorded temperatures of 22C.

As the thick swathe of heavy cloud cloaking Northern Ireland eased away on Sunday, social media was soon inundated with Father's Day images of stunning scenery and spectacular sunshine.

And everyone raced to take advantage of the clear weather before the gloomy cloud heaves into view again, with shops reporting huge demand for buckets, spades, paddling pools and water pistols.

The Rinkha store in Islandmagee estimated that it sold an incredible 8,000 ice-cream cones over Saturday, Sunday and Monday, reporting queues out the door for hours on end.

Owner William Hawkins said: "It's been pretty hectic. The weekend was phenomenal.

"We had people queued out the door for hours and hours and hours on Sunday, and it didn't tail off until 9.30pm. It's fantastic to see."

His son Ross added: "We've roughly sold close to 8,000 cones over the three days – we've been flat-out. They are selling it quicker than I can make it!"

Yesterday forecasters MeteoGroup reported a top temperature of 22.4C at Thomastown, with temperatures typically reaching 20-21C in inland and southern areas.

Cooler temperatures were reported on the north coast, where a sea breeze kept temperatures down to the high teens.

"We've got an area of slow-moving high pressure just to the north west of the UK, which is bringing generally more settled conditions and that's not going too far in the next 48 hours," forecaster Nick Prebble said.

"Towards the weekend that high pressure is going to shift westwards over the Atlantic and that will encourage northerly winds a bit more."

Today is expected to start off cloudy but gradually brighten with the best of the sunshine in the afternoon, he said. Temperatures are expected to stay up, with possible highs of 23C today and Wednesday. Sunny spells will be mixed with cloud.

"It should stay reasonably warm away from the northern coastal district," he added.

"From Thursday onwards it's expected to become a little bit cooler, but it will still be warm, especially in the south. On Thursday and Friday we will see some sunshine, although it will be a little cooler towards the end of the weekend."

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