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Storm clouds on horizon as thunder and rain to hit NI

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People enjoy the evening sunshine at Portstewart

People enjoy the evening sunshine at Portstewart

People enjoy the evening sunshine at Portstewart

After a gloomy few weeks, it was a weekend far more reminiscent of high summer - but the balmy weather is not going to last.

People have been warned to expect a dramatic change as thunderstorms move towards Northern Ireland after a weekend of basking in the heat.

Many flocked to beaches and local beauty spots as temperatures reached 21C in some parts on Saturday and Sunday - a welcome break from the otherwise wet and rainy August.

Time is running out to lap up the sunshine, however, with thunderstorms due to sweep in on Monday afternoon.

A Met Office Yellow weather warning for thunder will be in place throughout the region from noon on Monday until midnight on Wednesday. According to forecasters, however, temperatures will remain high as the rest of the UK bears the brunt of the storms.

Met Office adviser John Wylie urged people to take precautions in anticipation of the change in weather, which may affect any part of Northern Ireland, and prepare for possible flooding, lightning strikes and other disruptions.

"It looks as though the most intense storms will be across England, Wales and parts of Scotland, but Northern Ireland will see the potential for some thunderstorms at times," Mr Wylie said. "This could be anytime between Monday and Wednesday, but the location is still open to question.

"The potential is there, should they occur that some storms could be on the heavy side."

Mr Wylie said it will still feel warm, however, as temperatures remain in the low twenties.

"The nights will be warm and humid so there will be an oppressive and humid feel to the atmosphere," he added.

Met Office advice suggests there is a small chance of flooding to homes and businesses and potential loss of services due to power cuts. Driving conditions may deteriorate with the presence of spray and sudden flooding on the roads, while some routes may potentially be closed.

Where flooding or lightning strikes do occur, the public are reminded of possible delays or cancellations to train and bus services.

In England, sun seekers caused two mile traffic jams as they dashed for the coast yesterday.

Across the country, beaches and beauty spots were packed on another scorching day.

Enormous queues formed on roads at Camber Sands in East Sussex and in Bournemouth.

In Bournemouth, people camped out along the sea front overnight to secure a spot.

Belfast Telegraph