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Relief as cooler conditions arrive in Northern Ireland after sweltering heat 

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Belfast City Hall today, as the weather in Northern Ireland changes Picture: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

Belfast City Hall today, as the weather in Northern Ireland changes Picture: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

Belfast City Hall today Picture: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press.

Belfast City Hall today Picture: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press.

Belfast City Hall Picture: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press.

Belfast City Hall Picture: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press.

Belfast City Hall Picture: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

Belfast City Hall Picture: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

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Belfast City Hall today, as the weather in Northern Ireland changes Picture: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

What a difference a week has made – as the heatwave-baking Northern Ireland gives way to cloudy skies and cooler conditions.

Monday started with a fresher feel and weather more typical of Irish summers – all very different to a week earlier when each day seemed to bring record-breaking temperatures.

Over six days, Northern Ireland recorded its hottest day – breaking a record that had stood for 38 years.

First it was Ballywatticock basking in the limelight. A provisional record temperature for the townland outside Newtownards at 31.2 degrees had everyone reaching for the maps to find out where exactly it was.

By last Wednesday, Castlederg had recorded 31.3C, then a day after that, Armagh’s peak of 31.4C took top spot in the record books.

Day after day of clear blue skies and sunshine as a Northern Ireland was trapped under high pressure, the warmth drifting up from the Azores in the Mid Atlantic.

But if you want a bit of space on the beach, now is the time. The rush has ended as quickly as it began. Northern Ireland has had its spell in the sunshine and we’re back to what we know best.

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As many return to work, so the weather returns to normal, too.

While the forecasters at the Met office have been watching the temperatures soar to record levels over the last week, Northern Ireland’s gentle comedown from the highs of the last week will be a relief to many, not least NI Water, where since July 16, a staggering 28m litres of water was moved by tanker across the country as demand peaked and the system came under immense pressure.


Met Office forecaster Greg Dewhurst said anyone out and about on Sunday evening will have felt the cooler air starting to move across Northern Ireland.

“It’s been a rather exceptional spell weather wise for those who like the sunshine and heat. To have provisional record temperatures set again and again was extraordinary.

“For those who like their sunshine, I’m afraid it’s back to something more recognisable from a normal Irish summer this week.

“That means it’s all becoming a little unsettled, cooler and there’s a chance of showers, some probably heavy.

“We’re looking at high temperatures during the day, around the mid 20s, which is a little over the average, but a lot cooler than what we’ve had.

“It’s quite a change, but for the past week, we’ve seen high pressure dominate. That’s changing, low pressure is taking over and the wind direction is moving.”

According to Mr Dewhurst, it has been coming up from the south, bringing warmer air with it.

He added: "This week, it’s moving to come from the north west. It’ll be cooler and fresher. The days lounging on the beach soaking up the sun will be numbered for now.

“It will all mean that anyone looking forward to a comfortable night‘s sleep is going to be happy.

"There’s always some who enjoy the heat and will be sad to see it go for now, but on the other side, not everyone finds the tropical weather we’ve been seeing to their taste.”

While the next week will be unsettled, seeing spells of rain and fresher winds, the weather will become more settled going into next weekend.

People of a certain age still look back fondly on the summer of 1976, when temperatures were up near the 30-degrees mark for a long spell in late June and early July.

The summer of 2021 will provide similar memories for a new generation, but there might yet be a little more to enjoy in the weeks ahead.

“It looks like we’ve seen the last of the record temperatures for this summer,” said Mr Dewhurst. “But looking ahead through August, once this week of more cloud and rain is out of the way, there’s the possibility high pressure will take over again and we might see a bit more summer before the schools have to go back.”


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