Autumn puts on one last show at Castlewellan Forest Park
A final glimpse of the season's mellow beauty as winter looms
There can be few things as beautiful as a crisp autumn day and sunshine setting the rich golds and reds of the changing leaves aglow.
The turning leaves and calm conditions in this scene at Castlewellan Forest Park painted a colourful spectacle on the former Annesley estate at the weekend – but enjoy it while you can, because winter is very definitely coming.
Soon those shades of red, russet and gold will be blowing around your feet as high winds are on their way.
Temperatures rose yesterday to 14 degrees in Belfast following a chilly weekend, but gales are expected on Thursday before temperatures start to plummet next week.
Met Office spokesman Dave Clark said the weather is currently fluctuating as it changes from autumn to winter, with snow creeping onto the higher ground last weekend, only to disappear again as the weather warmed up.
"Around the south-west of Northern Ireland got up to 14.6 degrees on Monday which was very pleasant," he said. "But all things will change, cooler air is moving in to Co Down, Armagh and southern Fermanagh. The south-west and the north coast will be cloudier with rain."
Tomorrow is expected to start fine but turn cloudy with outbreaks of rain and strong south-westerly winds pushing across from the west which will push temperatures up to 13 degrees.
But Thursday will be cooler with gale force winds.
"It's one day mild, one day cold basically, with a strong north-westerly wind coming in on Thursday turning to gale force along the north coast and down the Antrim coast mainly across the east," Mr Clark said.
"We are expecting a frost on Thursday night into Friday morning with pressure building and then settling down to a fine day on Friday with temperatures at around eight degrees."
Matt Dobson, a forecaster with Meteogroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said temperatures could drop to five degrees next week.
"The weather is going to be fairly unsettled, with gusts of more than 60mph on Thursday," he said.