heat is on | 

Record highs: Safety warnings as heatwave set to match top temperature in living memory 

Bella and Layla Hughes and Annie and Jude Sheperd at Helen’s Bay beach, Co Down. Photos: PA


Ralph Riegel

Ireland is poised to match the highest temperature in living memory as conditions are set to surge to a sweltering 32C today.

A new modern heat record could potentially be set as temperatures in south Ulster and north Leinster will sizzle close to the 32.2C recorded 15 years ago.

Ireland’s all-time heat record was a blistering 33.3C recorded at Kilkenny Castle in 1887.

Weather experts said the all-time record is unlikely to be broken by the heatwave delivered over the past week courtesy of an Azores High and the jet stream.

However, the modern high of 32.2C recorded in 2006 could potentially be surpassed in some northern inland areas. A high of 32.5C was recorded at Boora in Offaly in June 1976.

Gardaí, health officials and elderly care groups urged people to take precautions, with sunstroke and heat exhaustion now considered genuine threats.

Such has been the intense heat that road tar has melted and footpaths have cracked, with the Road Safety Authority warning about ‘sun glare’ for drivers.

Met Éireann issued a Status Orange heat warning for six counties – Cavan, Monaghan, south Leitrim, Roscommon, Longford, Westmeath – and said that maximum temperatures would “exceed 30 degrees Celsius in places and overnight temperatures dropping no lower than around 20 degrees”.

A Status Yellow alert will remain in place for the rest of Ireland until 9am on Friday morning, when the heatwave is expected to break with the arrival of Atlantic showers. Next week will revert to more normal July temperatures.

Ireland was expected to officially confirm a heatwave last night – five successive days of temperatures above 25C.

Met Éireann’s Gavin Gallagher said it will remain extremely hot until Friday, with today likely to deliver arguably the highest temperatures. “It will turn a little cloudier and more showery on Saturday and Sunday.”

Carlow Weather’s Alan O’Reilly said that a North African-like temperature of 32C was possible today.

“Temperatures are rising very quickly in the morning and will soar above 25C very, very quickly indeed. It could possibly rise to 32C on Wednesday and will only slowly drop back over the evening time. Some areas were reporting temperatures of 28C late in the evening.”

The Irish Cancer Society urged people to take precautions to protect themselves from overexposure to the sun and ultraviolet radiation.

ALONE chief executive Sean Moynihan said people should remember their elderly neighbours, friends and relatives, particularly if they are living alone, given the dangers of heat stroke and dehydration.

“If there is anything you think you can help with, no matter how small, do reach out to them. It could make a world of difference to an older person during these challenging times. Please continue to follow relevant health advice to keep you and those around you safe from Covid-19.”

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