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Northern Ireland set for thunderstorms this weekend as temperatures set to drop next week


Lightning over Lough Neagh. Picture by Conar McDonald taken in 2016.

Lightning over Lough Neagh. Picture by Conar McDonald taken in 2016.

Lightning over Lough Neagh. Picture by Conar McDonald taken in 2016.

Northern Ireland is braced for thunderstorms this weekend as cooler air moves in replacing humidity.

Temperatures hovered at around 20C across the region as cloud increased on Friday.

Most places have managed to stay dry and it’s expected to brighten up again later in the evening.

Overnight temperatures should be around 13C for most but could dip into single digits in rural spots by the end of the weekend. 

Many places will see rain for a time on Saturday morning as cloud cover thickens again.

But the Met Office is forecasting it will give way to a mainly dry afternoon with some warm sunshine.

Meteorologist Steven Keates said increased humidity will result in maximum temperatures of 22C feeling slightly warmer.

"It’s going to be a quite unsettled weekend,” he said. "Quite a lot of wind and rain is coming in off the Atlantic. It will be ever changing and quite windy.

"The wet start should be followed with bright spells, but becoming wet again in the evening. 

"It could be noticeably windy for this time of year with gusts of up to 30mph possible. 

"Those winds will be even stronger along the Co Down coast."

Sunday’s breezy conditions are expected to bring showers which could be heavy in places.

Mr Keates said cooler air moving in could spark thunderstorms with outbreaks of hail and rain as temperatures still hold at around 20C. 

"Some of those showers could be pretty heavy and prolonged with a risk of thunder,” the forecaster said. "There will be brighter interludes too, so a bit of a mixture.  

“It’s not the best weekend and will be quite blustery – keeping your wet weather gear at hand is not a bad call.”    

The mercury is expected to take a dip to around 16-18C on Monday and Tuesday with a few light showers possible everywhere.

It will become drier as the week continues but is expected to remain cloudy with occasional sunny spells.

“High pressure will start to build again by the middle of the week which will see temperatures climb back to seasonal norms, no sign of another heat wave but it should bring pleasant days,” Mr Keates said. 

It stands in stark contrast to last weekend’s weather which saw temperatures soar close to all time highs.

Most places basked in 30C-plus heat on Monday which saw those lucky enough to enjoy a day off flock to NI’s most popular beauty spots.

Beaches in Portrush, Portstewart and Newcastle were packed with cars, surfers and families out enjoying the day.

The hottest temperature was recorded in Derrylin, south Fermanagh, where the heat reached 31.1C.

It was followed by 30.8C in both Armagh and Aldergrove in Co Antrim.

Northern Ireland’s record 31.3C recorded in Castlederg last year is yet to be beaten.

The Co Tyrone town also holds the record for the coldest day here which was -18.7C.

Meanwhile, Ireland recorded its hottest temperature in more than a century as parts of Dublin reached 33C, according to Met Eireann, while parts of England sweltering in temperatures over 40C.

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