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Saturday 20 September 2014

It’s a scorcher - and Ireland is officially 'in drought'

- Met Eireann issues yellow alert
- Orange alert possible at weekend
- No rainfall for 15 days means Ireland is' in drought'
- Elderly advised to stay indoors during ‘peak’ heat times
- Charities inundated with ‘dehydrated’ animals
- Sales of sunglasses, electric fans and summer dresses rocket

Published 18/07/2013 | 15:54

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Saoirse Rose Kovac (1) and her mother Sinead Costello, both from Clontarf, enjoying the good weather on Dollymount Beach, Dublin
Saoirse Rose Kovac (1) and her mother Sinead Costello, both from Clontarf, enjoying the good weather on Dollymount Beach, Dublin
Sam Wang and Genie Petrauskaite from Dublin on Dollymount Beach
Sam Wang and Genie Petrauskaite from Dublin on Dollymount Beach
Members of the McMahon family, left to right; Carl (11), Marley (5), Kai (3) , Stephen (10) all from Cavan on holidays in Clontarf
Members of the McMahon family, left to right; Carl (11), Marley (5), Kai (3) , Stephen (10) all from Cavan on holidays in Clontarf

THE blistering weather is set to continue into the weekend with Met Eireann issuing a yellow alert today.

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Temperatures could hit 30C and above this weekend with appeals for people to look out for their elderly neighbours and ensure they are using plenty of suncream.

Met Eireann have issued a yellow alert as temperatures approach 30C. A yellow weather status is a warning to notify those who are at risk because of their location and/or activity, and to allow them to take preventative action," according to the national weather service. A yellow weather alert does not pose an "immediate threat", but it is intended to allow proper notification for those who may be at risk.

Tomorrow temperatures hit 27C and above. This danger signal looks likely to increase to an orange alert for this current heatwave.

And today, it's emerged that Ireland is officially 'in drought' after no rainfall was recorded for 15 consecutive days.

In the UK it’s estimated that 760 people have lost their lives as a result of the temperatures which have hit 30C for the sixth day in a row.

And The Times in the UK is reporting that the number of fatalities is set to double.

“The risk of death and risk of illness really concerns us,” Professor Virginia Murray, head of extreme events and health protection at Public Health England said.

“Those with pre-existing illnesses are at a much greater risk of not being able to cope with heat. It’s much harder for them to cope with cooling”.

There’s every chance that temperatures of 30C and beyond will hit Ireland.

“It’s a possibility – and it cannot be ruled out,” Deirdre Lowe of Met Eireann said today.

“Our model is predicting very high temperatures but that could change.

“We wouldn’t rule out 30C over the weekend and into next week – we think it could hit 29C but there is an easterly breeze now which might make things a little cooler,” she said.

Meanwhile, Age Action is urging members of the public to watch out for their elderly neighbours during the heatwave.

“This weather can cause problems for older people, particularly those with respiratory and circulatory problems,” Eamon Timmins of Age Action said.

“It’s very important that people keep an eye on their elderly neighbours and friends.

“We would advise such people, particularly those with underlying health conditions, to stay indoors, in shaded areas and keep sipping cold drinks. Keep the curtains drawn on the sunny side of the building, but keep the windows open for air to circulate

“If you feel dizzy or unwell, it’s important that you call someone straight away.”

And a similar warning has been issued to pet owners.

Animal rescue charities have been calling on the public to look out for wild and stray animals suffering form the effects of the heatwave.

The charities have rescued hundreds of dehydrated animals since the hot weather began.

The ISPCA are “strongly advising” homeowners to leave some shallow bowls of water in their garden for dehydrated animals.

Such  animals likely to be affected by the heat include dogs, cats, hedgehogs, foxes, rabbits, hares and small birds.

Most of the animals are dehydrated and starving, as they are finding it difficult to access water and their regular prey is hiding from the strong heat rays.

Lisa O'Donovan, an inspector with the ISPCA in Cork, advised: "If you find a dehydrated domesticated animal like a cat or a dog, carefully wrap them in a wet towel and feed them spoonfuls of cold water to cool them down."

The heatwave has led to a boom in the sales of electric fans, sunglasses and summer clothing.

Arnotts sold out all their electrical fans last weeks as office staff snapped them up in a bid to keep cool.

Fans ranging from €20 to €600 were sold out.

And sales of sunglasses have massively increased.

“We’ve had the biggest uptake in sunglass sales that we’ve seen in a long time, it’s massively up from previous years,” a spokeswoman for Arnotts said.

July is traditionally mid-season sale time for clothing retailers.

But thanks to the heatwave, they have noticed a significant boost in shifting their reduced price stock since the boost of sun.

A spokeswoman for Awear Ireland explained: “Awear on Grafton Street is always busy, but we’ve seen an uplift in terms of summer products.

“Even though it’s mid-season sale time, if it was raining, it wouldn’t sell just as quickly as it has so far.

“In particular, we’re noticing sundresses and t-shirts are selling the best.”

 

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