August weather forecast puts a damper on sun lovers' plans
Northern Ireland sun worshippers who flocked to local beaches during last month's mini heatwave may have a damper put on their August plans, with the forecast for this month looking decidedly changeable.
According to new Met Office data, the province was one of only two UK regions to enjoy above average rates of sunshine in July, with locals soaking up 162.6 hours of rays - equivalent to 116% of the average amount.
It got so hot in mid-July that the National Trust was forced to close Portstewart Strand, which was packed to capacity with 1,500 cars as beach-goers basked in temperatures of up to 26.5C.
However, proving that you're never far away from a shower, Northern Ireland was also the UK region with the most rainfall last month at 113.1mm - 39% above the monthly average.
As for this month, it looks unlikely that we will get close to breaking any temperature records.
Today's Met Office forecast features sunny spells and scattered showers, while tomorrow will start brightly before cloud thickens in the north and west.
Rain will spread south-eastwards throughout Monday, while sunshine and heavy showers are on the cards for Tuesday.
Those in southern and eastern areas would be well-advised to keep a brolly handy on Wednesday too. However, from midweek it will become drier as high pressure starts to build there, spreading southwards to herald the start of a more settled and sunnier period.
Unfortunately, anyone planning to head to the north coast on holidays may initially face changeable weather with spells of rain and stronger winds.
It could start to turn warmer later next week as high pressure occasionally becomes established.
But while it is windier and wetter in the north, it may remain cool at times.
However, there is good news for anyone planning a staycation in the south of the province during the last fortnight in August, with the arrival of a north-south split in the weather.
The south should be drier and more settled.
As a result, temperatures may often be warmer in the south, although there is a low chance that very warm air could affect the far southeast, with the risk of thunder at times. In contrast, there will be changeable conditions across the north, with spells of rain and strong winds at times, while temperatures will remain close to normal.
While the temperatures at home are unremarkable, several European countries experienced spells of extreme heat last week as the mercury soared as high as 44C.
The scorching heat led to wild fires, deaths and the threat of severe drought, with Italy and the Balkans the worst affected regions. The heatwave is expected to last until at least Monday.
Tourists visiting the Continent are being advised to seek out the shade while warnings are in place, and to take precautions to stay healthy amid the heat.