Northern Ireland to be warmer than French Riviera as balmy Easter to replace chills
Northern Ireland is set to bask in temperatures higher than the south of France this Easter in a welcome change to the recent chilly spell.
After last weekend's cold conditions, temperatures will start to rise from today, ranging from 16C in the east to 19C or 20C in some parts of the west.
Along with the warmer temperatures, parts are expected to enjoy sunny periods, although Easter Sunday and Monday will bring cloudy skies. However, only an unlucky few will experience rain.
Nicky Maxey from the Met Office said: "Northern Ireland will be looking at temperature in the mid-teens from Thursday but that could creep up to around 18c or 19c in places like Enniskillen and Derry.
"As we go through to Friday, certainly in Belfast the temperature will be between 16C and 18C - but there is a chance you could see 19C or even 20C, which is the case for the north coast.
"These mid to high teens will stay into Saturday across Northern Ireland and in perfect locations you might see areas enjoying 20C."
"Easter Sunday will still be warm, but by the time we get to Monday the temperature will be around 11C.
"We are looking at fairly dry weather but there will be cloud cover over the weekend and by the time we get to Sunday there will be a band of showers starting to push from the north west and perhaps a bit more persistent on Monday."
These temperatures are above average for this time of the year and are even higher than what holidaymakers can expect in the French Riviera, with Nice and Cannes expecting the mercury to hit between 17C and 19C.
The warmer spell comes on the heels of the cold snap, which was a combination of a below average temperature coupled with a north west wind creating a chill factor.
Ms Maxey explained that while we can get ready to enjoy above average temperatures this Easter, they are actually similar to the same time last year.
She said: "The average daytime temperature for Northern Ireland is 11.6C and spring is a transitional season when you are moving from the cold to hopefully warm summer weather.
"So in April you can get these extremes of cold weather followed by periods of warm weather.
"We have had a cool start to April with temperatures below average but now this weekend the temperature will be above average, which isn't uncommon.
"If you look at this weekend last year, the temperature in Northern Ireland was similar."
While the majority of people will be making the most of the fine weather, it will bring misery for others.
The Department of Agriculture has warned of the potential for isolated areas of high air pollution to occur during this period.