LATE-season staycationers are set for an unexpected boost with Ireland poised to enjoy an early Indian summer.
Met Éireann indicated in their long range forecast that the country is set for two weeks of settled, largely dry weather from August 20 as a high pressure zone settles over Ireland.
While the weather won't resemble the mini-heatwave delivered by the Azores High last month, it will offer more than two weeks of widespread sunshine, largely dry spells and temperatures climbing to above 20C in parts.
Some parts of the south and east will enjoy extended spells of glorious sunshine.
Rainfall will also be significantly below normal levels for the time of year with showers forecast for just three days in fifteen to September 4.
Tourism officials have hailed the forecast as critically extending the staycation season into September and helping the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Indian summer will begin on August 20 and will continue beyond September 2 before the high pressure zone weakens and Atlantic rain showers develop.
The warm, dry conditions are thanks to a high pressure zone which will settle over Ireland for more than a fortnight and feed in an east to southeast airflow bringing warm, dry weather.
However, householders will first have to deal with a week of unsettled weather.
A Status Yellow wind alert was lifted for eight counties on Thursday afternoon but Met Éireann's Deirdre Lowe said windy conditions will extend into Friday.
Winds gusted above 90kmh on Thursday with the strongest winds in the west and southwest.
"Friday will be blustery with fresh or strong westerly winds, easing later and there will be a mix of sunny spells and showers," she said.
"Highest temperatures will be 16C to 20C. The winds will gradually ease from light to moderate with showers becoming lighter and confined to western and northern coastal counties.
"Saturday will see this wet weather edge a bit further northwards and is likely to be heavy in places with some spot flooding.
"The flooding risk is greatest in the southwest though some northern parts of the country may hold dry, and the rain will turn more showery later.
"Saturday night and Sunday will bring some further showery rain at times but good dry periods also. Winds will be mostly light but they may freshen for a time on Sunday near the south coast with highest temperatures of 17C to 20C.
"Monday and Tuesday will see moderate northwest breezes bringing in a mixture of sunny spells and scattered showers, the showers most frequent in the north and northwest.
"Overall, temperatures will range from the mid to high teens in the northwest to between 17C and 20C."
Both Gardaí and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) urged people to drive with care this weekend given the forecast for wind and rain with potentially challenging road conditions.
It is expected to prove a very busy weekend for traffic with Dublin and Mayo meeting in a GAA double-header at Croke Park on Saturday.
The Kerry and Tyrone semi-final has been postponed to August 21 because of a Covid-19 outbreak.
Both Mayo and Dublin Councils united to urge fans to 'Play it Safe'
when driving in light of the fact seven people have died on Irish roads already in August - a fatal accident occurring on average every
Croke Park will host the Dublin and Mayo All-Ireland football semi-final on Saturday with the curtain raiser being a clash between the two counties in the Ladies football semi-final.