Belfast Telegraph

Storm alerts as sun sets on glorious Northern Ireland heatwave

AMANDA FERGUSON

IT looks like the sun is finally setting on Northern Ireland's recent spell of glorious summer weather.

Beaches, parks and open spaces were again packed with locals and tourists yesterday, but some localised thunderstorms, predicted in the Met Office's yellow weather warning for rain on Tuesday, was an unwelcome signal of more inclement weather ahead with some flooding possible.

It was Magilligan in Co Londonderry that managed to score the top temperature of 25C, closely followed by Castlederg in Co Tyrone at 24.6C, and in Belfast the mercury hit a not too shabby 23.2C.

But the Strangford Lough ferry service was suspended yesterday afternoon due to fog, and thunder and lightning was reported in Cookstown and other central areas.

Meanwhile, a Ryanair flight from Edinburgh to Alicante was forced to land at Glasgow Prestwick after being struck by lightning at 6.15pm.

After three weeks of scorching temperatures here, Meteogroup forecaster Tom Tobler explained their is a risk of further thunder and lightning today and tomorrow, but it's not a complete washout.

"Thunder is most likely in the afternoon, and will continue overnight with further downpours on Thursday. It's going to be pretty unsettled with heavy rain in places, but it will be hit and miss.

"Temperatures in Northern Ireland will be around 20C, possibly 21C or 22C in some places."

NI Water told the Belfast Telegraph it was prepared for the possible impact of thundery showers, saying staff are on standby to deal with any incidents and liaise with DRD Roads Service and DARD Rivers Agency as appropriate.

Reservoirs are generally maintaining 90% capacity, the expected figure for this time of year, but NI Water is urging the public to treat water as a vital resource and warned of the dangers of young people breaking open fire hydrants.

"Although we have been pleased with the performance of our reservoirs, we continue to ask the public to remember that water is a precious resource, and we all must do what we can to conserve supplies," the NI Water spokesman said.

"There have been localised water supply issues, particularly in greater Belfast, but these are mainly as a result of fire hydrant abuse in some areas.

"NI Water would emphasise that this activity is not only highly dangerous, it is also illegal.

"We are grateful for the support that we have already received from elected representatives and community workers in those instances where hydrants have been vandalised and we will continue to work with the community to alleviate the problems that arise.''

STORY SO FAR

We were hotter than Mexico, Tenerife and Cyprus at the weekend, but it looks like Northern Ireland's glorious heatwave is coming to a gradual end. On Friday, the hottest day of the year so far, the mercury hit 30.1C at Castlederg in Co Tyrone, nearly matching the record high of 30.8C set at Knockarevan in Co Fermanagh on June 30, 1976, and again at Shaw's Bridge in Belfast on July 12, 1983. We've had 20 consecutive days of 20C-plus temperatures but weather experts have said temperatures will decrease in the coming days.

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