Northern Ireland basks in summer sun ... for a day or two at least
Sun lovers soak it up as mercury hits 23.6C
Northern Ireland enjoyed its hottest day of the year so far yesterday and there's more sunshine still to come, forecasters have said.
As many basked in the beautiful weather, temperatures reached 23.6C in Castlederg and 23.5C in Armagh.
Much of western Europe is experiencing a heatwave, with record-breaking temperatures being recorded in France and Germany.
It has been caused by the Sahara bubble - a huge area of scorching hot air from Africa which has crossed the Mediterranean into Europe.
Dean Hall from the Met Office told the Belfast Telegraph: "We are beginning to import some of that very warm, humid air from the near-continent over the next couple of days.
"We see that peaking on Saturday.
"There are certainly still some very warm conditions to come for Northern Ireland, especially in the west."
Mr Hall added: "Temperatures will reach the mid-20s. Coastal areas will be a bit cooler, maybe 22 or 23C, but further west it will reach up to 25C and maybe even 26C in sheltered places.
"Saturday is likely to be the hottest day before the cool air begins to come in from the west.
"As we move into next week, things will pretty much return back to normal with much cooler, fresher conditions across the whole of the UK."
The scorching conditions could also see temperatures climbing to 28C on the west coast of the Republic, according to Met Eireann.
The hottest temperatures ever recorded in Northern Ireland came in the summer of 1976, when the mercury climbed to a sizzling 30.8C, recorded both in Co Fermanagh and Belfast.
The highest recorded temperature ever in the UK was 38.5C in Faversham, Kent, in August 2003.