| 5.8°C Dublin

Get ready for seven more weeks of 'scorchio'


SLATHER on the sunscreen, wring out your swimsuit and pour another frozen cocktail – the good weather is forecast to continue well into September.

Ken Ring, the acclaimed New Zealand weather guru who predicted the exact dates of the current heatwave, has sent a message to Irish sun worshippers saying it will be scorchio for seven more weeks.

Mr Ring, who is rarely wrong, says we won't see a fall in the balmy temperatures until September 11.

Met Eireann has issued a yellow weather alert, indicating that temperatures of up to 30C will continue into next week.

It has confirmed that the majority of the country is officially experiencing a drought, with 20 of the 25 national weather stations reporting rainfall of less than 0.1mm over the past 15 days.

Forecasters also predicted the odd continental-style thunderstorm to punctuate the best summer in years and the driest July in decades.

On Friday, it was Carlow that grabbed the headlines as Ireland's hottest place.

But during the coming week, the hot spots will move democratically around the island, according to the latest five-day forecast.

Today, a broad sweep of the midlands and the midwest will bake in temperatures of 25C. However, heavy or thundery showers are likely in parts of Munster and Connacht from around noon.

These showers will extend into west Ulster tonight. Temperatures will be down slightly on previous days, ranging from 21C to 27C, with light easterly breezes. It will be coolest in the east.

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But the weather will continue very warm or hot through this week.

Generally, it will still be dry, hot and sunny with daytime temperatures between 25C and 29C and possibly reaching 30C in parts of the midlands. The nights will be very mild and close, with lowest temperatures of 14C to 18C and the lingering threat of thunderstorms.

By tomorrow night the hottest areas will be a broad sweep across the southern half of the country before the highest temperatures move back to the midland counties and stretch towards the border around Cavan and Monaghan.

Met Eireann has confirmed that much of the country is in a state of what it called "absolute drought".

If the dry spell continues, water restrictions are expected to be initiated in a number of areas. Several local authorities have already introduced hosepipe bans.

"An absolute drought is a period of 15 days with less than 0.2mm of rainfall," said Gerry Murphy of Met Eireann. "For some parts of the eastern country, this status has been reached – it was on Thursday, actually, in the Dublin region.

"That will extend to other parts of the country today."

There was some good news for farmers, though, when fears that the dry, hot weather might spark another fodder crisis were dismissed by Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney.

However, the weather also brought tragedy yesterday when a 24-year-old man drowned near Adara, Co Donegal. He was named locally as Conor Cunningham.

And a man in his 60s is missing, presumed drowned in a quarry near Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary. The man, who is from the locality and knew the quarry well, told relatives he was going swimming there yesterday. When he did not return, the alarm was raised. His clothes were found at the quarry – but so far, there is no sign of him.

And at 5pm yesterday the body of a man was recovered from the Shrule River in Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone.

It brings the number of water deaths to 10 this month.

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