Time to block book some days in the sun

From barbeques to bathers and buckets of ice-cream, the weekend is set to be sizzling with more to come, as a heatwave is on the way and set to strike next week, with temperatures expected to soar to 29C.

It’s all down to what meteorologists call a ‘blocking high’ — areas of high pressure that remain nearly stationary and distort the usual progression of pressure systems.

In Ireland’s case, this high is coming from the Azores and is keeping our typically low-pressure zones to the south-west at bay.

“Every day is going to get warmer and warmer and that is expected to last through next week,” said Met Éireann forecaster Joanna Donnelly.

“There is an anticylone sitting right over us and there is no sign of a break in that.” 

Jane Mullane, Dayna Grand, Niamh McElihinney, and Saoirse Kiely, from Dublin, arrive at Body & Soul at Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath. Picture: Allen Kiely.

There is unlikely to be even thundery showers and winds will be almost non-existent, says Ms Donnelly.

“There is little or no wind and no sign of precipitation anywhere, no thundery showers, no signal for any precipitation, not a drop for the next day or two,” she said.

“There will only be light and variable winds, although you might have sea breezes along the coast.”

Nora Kate Mercier, Charlotte and Emily Southgate, Amira Walsh, and Beth Southgate, of Bunscoil Bothar na Naomh, Lismore, at Lismore Gardens. Picture: Larry Cummins

Inland counties will be the hottest around the county and it is a toss-up between Mullingar and Shannon as to which part of the country will record the highest temperatures.

“If I were a betting woman, I would go for Shannon,” said Ms Donnelly.

But, with the sunny weather, comes a warning to bathers from Irish Water Safety (IWS). Chief executive John Leech said that, in particular, he would appeal to parents of teenagers to know where their children are at all times.

Kate Collins, Kinsale, enjoying the sun at the Dock beach. Picture: Denis Minihane.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Leech said that, during the last warm spell, which started on May 23, 10 people drowned in 15 days. This compared to a similar period of good weather in July 2013 when 13 people drowned in 14 days.

“The people who drowned swimming last month and early this month were all out of their depth,” said Mr Leech.

“The main message is to swim within your depth, stay within your depth and swim parallel to the shore. Then if you do feel sick or unwell or dizzy, you can just drop your feet and wade back onto the bank.” 

Laura Rice from Tipperary ready to party at Body & Soul. Picture: Michael Donnelly

According to IWS, 62% of drownings occur at inland water sites, where it can be difficult to see the bottom and for swimmers to know if they are out of their depth.

The recent spate of deaths included 15-year-old friends Shay Moloney and Jack Kenneally, who drowned after getting into difficulty while swimming in a quarry on the Tulla Road near Ennis, Co Clare on May 31.


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