At last, summer festival weather makes its arrival
Summer is finally here... once we get today's heavy rain out of the way.
Those recent chilly spells that put the brakes on summer holiday feelings are being replaced with some real heat at last, according to Met Eireann forecaster Deirdre Lowe.
"The cool weather is over. The summer is really beginning," she said.
Yesterday's sunshine was welcomed by thousands of people attending the Body and Soul Festival in County Westmeath, and other outdoor events although umbrellas will be handy in most places at times today.
While weather experts forecast heavy thundery outbreaks of rain in some parts tonight could cause spot flooding, the weather this week will be increasingly warm and humid in the coming days with temperatures rising into the 20s.
There will be good spells of sunshine but also the threat of some heavy and thundery rain or showers.
There will be fog in places and, for those heading to the beach, there will be some sea mist at times.
"It's going to be warm and close. The nights are going to be particularly muggy as the week goes on," said Ms Lowe.
"The temperatures in the coming week won't be exceptional but they will still be pretty good in the low 20Cs. It will still be changeable.
"There will be some heavy thundery showers at times and some warm hazy sunny spells," she said.
Ms Lowe says it will be warmer later in the week.
On Friday, the air will be coming from the south when there will be very good temperatures except along the south coast.
During the week, the showers will become more isolated but locally intense with the risk of thunder and lightning as the heat grows.
"We will notice that the evenings are warmer because it is going to get more humid so in the shade it will feel still warm while in the last while it had felt cool in the shade.
"The cool nights are finished," she said.
Next weekend it will be mainly dry with slightly fresher breezes in the west.
The forecaster said: "Next weekend there is a good chance the humid warm air will hang on in parts of the east and south.
"It will be getting fresher in the northwest but even there temperatures will be 19C or 20C."
Meanwhile, a heatwave will grip Continental Europe with temperatures in the high 30s expected in France this week.
"The air mass originates in Africa so that is why it is getting very warm over Europe," Ms Lowe said.
The air will move into Britain where it will not be quite as warm.
By the time the air plume crosses the Irish Sea into Ireland, it will have "modified" further and will be less warm.
"The air will be coming easterly into Ireland so temperatures will be peaking probably on Thursday and Friday with maybe the mid-west getting temperatures of 26C or 27C," she said.
High temperatures forecast for Britain have prompted a weather warning alert with fears that a sudden heatwave will spark severe thunderstorms, raising the risk of serious widespread flooding and travel disruption.
Weather forecasters have warned that Britain will experience a sudden surge in temperatures - up to at least 31C in parts of the country but the thunderstorms sparked by the blistering heat could last for several days.
According to a BBC weather forecast, up to 100mm of rainfall is expected in some regions of the country.
Some forecasters were even predicting up to 60 hours of torrential rain, hail and flash floods in every region of Britain from this evening.
There were be 'hot spots' in Britain where temperatures are expected to "easily pass the 30C mark".
It will be far hotter in parts of Continental Europe from this weekend onwards, with the possibility of near record-breaking June temperatures in countries including France, Germany and the Netherlands.
Temperatures in cities from Spain to Germany were expected to surpass 32C and rise to even 40C in the hottest places.
In France, temperatures of between 35C and 40C were forecast in most parts, except Brittany, from tomorrow.