By Eoin English and Evelyn Ring
It will be dry and sunny again today but temperatures will start dropping slightly after reaching a high of 32ºC on Thursday.
Nevertheless, Met Éireann has extended its status yellow high-temperature warning until tonight.
Temperatures of more than 27 ºC are expected today, mainly in Connacht, Munster, and parts of south Leinster.
At a peak yesterday, temperatures had reached 31ºC in Shannon Airport.
In Athenry, Co Galway, Gurteen, Co Sligo, and Newport, Co Mayo, temperatures had hit 30ºC.
Forecaster Liz Coleman said there were indications that some showers would start pushing into the south and south-west tomorrow.
“Some showers will break out over the next few days,” she said. “They will affect parts of the south-west of the country, possibly south Leinster and south Connaught, but there won’t be much accumulation in that rainfall.” Another band of rain affecting the south-western part of the country is expected on Monday and there will be scattered showers on Tuesday.
Ms Coleman said the area of high pressure — the anticyclone, responsible for the dry hot weather — is moving up towards the north-east. As the high-pressure system drifts north-eastwards there is an increasing chance of showers.
Met Éireann said it has been “bone dry” almost countrywide in the past week, except for a part of the southeast, where “a trace” of rain was recorded, amounting to 0.1mm.
It said rainfall was much needed now, with the ground, crops and animals crying out for water but there was some uncertainty as regards rainfall amounts next week.
“Low pressure across the Bay of Biscay may manage to feed in some showers, but current indications suggest any showers will be scattered and by no means guaranteed,” it said.
“If anywhere is likely to see them, it will more than likely be across parts of Munster and Leinster owing to the airflow.”
Met Éireann said the land was “very solid” at the moment and drought conditions were expected to persist for the foreseeable future.
Due to extreme heat, the Waterford Viking Marathon taking place today has been downgraded to ‘half’ and a ‘quarter’. The organisers said they were acting on the advice of a medical director, Waterford University Hospital, An Garda Síochána, Met Éireann, and its health and safety team.
Race director Joe Cawley said forecasts earlier in the week had indicated a reduction in temperatures but yesterday’s forecast was consistent with previous days.
“The silver lining for the event is that all participants will have even more water, entertainment, and fun en route,” he said.
Over the last 24 hours the Air Corps have been involved in aerial firefighting operations in Dublin, Wicklow, Limerick and Cork supporting the extremely hard working units on the ground. Stay safe this weekend. #strengthenthenation @DubFireBrigade pic.twitter.com/UuEOjeIXgy— Irish Air Corps (@IrishAirCorps) June 29, 2018
Meanwhile, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is urging the public to report any fish that appear to be distressed due to high water temperatures and low water levels.
IFI chief executive Ciaran Byrne said low water levels and high water temperatures may lead to fish kills.
“The temperatures are dangerously hot at the moment and fish kills may be unavoidable,” said Dr Byrne.
Anglers have been asked to consider taking a break from fishing entirely until conditions improve.
Meanwhile, the ESB has agreed with the organisers of the Vibes and Scribes Lee Swim taking place in Cork today to flush 30 cubic metres of water per second for about an hour ahead of the swim.
A spokesperson said it was the maximum flow of water it could discharge because its Lee reservoirs had been affected by the dry spell — the ESB had to continue to meet its statutory flow obligation and water obligations to Irish Water.
Two greyhound meetings planned to take place in Longford and Youghal, Co Cork, were called off due to the heatwave.
The Irish Council Against Blood Sports had urged the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed to call off all horse racing and greyhound meetings.
Derek McGrath. chief executive of Curragh Racecourse, said horse welfare was a priority over the Dubai Duty-Free Irish Derby Week-end.
Having the benefit of knowing the weather in advance had allowed them to make preparations to ensure that all of their visitors, not just the horses would be taken care of in every way.
This story originally appeared in the Irish Examiner