School’s out and summer has arrived with a bang, with thousands this week packing their sandwiches and suncream and heading outdoors as temperatures soared towards 30 ° Celsius.
Following a week of Mediterranean weather, this weekend looks set to be another scorcher across the north west with more unbroken sunshine forecast for today and tomorrow.
The long winter just past now seems a world away as deck chairs are unfolded in parks, beaches and back yards to make the most of the rare chance to sunbathe outdoors, throw a barbecue or dip your toes in the waters along the coastline without turning blue.
And forecasters have said there won’t be any dramatic shift heading into the first half of next week, with hopes high it will remain fine and dry beyond that as Ballyliffin Golf Club hosts the Irish Open next week with the Foyle Maritime Festival later in July .
While many are taking advantage of the opportunity for some fun in the sun, the high UV Index and pollen count has sparked warnings over the need for local sun worshippers and hay fever sufferers to take precautions while outdoors.
The Western Trust has advised that the risk of skin cancer increases the more sun burnings a person gets, but said that melanoma is largely preventable by wearing suncream factor 15 or above; wearing a hat and sunglasses; avoiding sunbeds and staying out of the midday sun.
Meanwhile, the arid heat is also taking its toll in other ways. During what is shaping up to the be the hottest June in a generation, there are reports that tarmac on some Donegal roads was actually melting yesterday, while on the Glenshane mountain fire-fighters were monitoring a one mile-long gorse fire.
Delivering a reminder over the dangers of gorse fires, NI Fire & Rescue Service Wildfire Lead, Group Commander, Mark Smyth said:“The current spell of dry, sunny weather is providing a tinderbox landscape with conditions ripe for gorse fires to take hold.
“Whilst many of these are started deliberately, gorse fires can also be caused accidentally by something as simple as throwing a cigarette from a car window, leaving a glass bottle on the ground or not extinguishing a barbecue properly.”
So the advice is clear: look after yourself and the environment to make sure the season is a summer to remember for all the right reasons.