News Weather

Thursday 18 October 2018

Mercury rising: Today is set to be the hottest day of the year so far

Patrick Tyrell (3) left, from Finglas and Nikodem Gajdosz, from Santry play in the sand at Portmarnock strand. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Patrick Tyrell (3) left, from Finglas and Nikodem Gajdosz, from Santry play in the sand at Portmarnock strand. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Sorcha O'Connor and Breda Heffernan

Today is shaping up to be the hottest day of the year so far on the back of highs of 24C yesterday.

While temperatures will continue in the mid-20s, Met Éireann has confirmed it will not be all sunshine and clear skies, with more stormy weather expected later in the week.

Forecaster Harm Luijkx said there would be plenty of sunshine for people to enjoy before stormier conditions take over from Thursday.

"Warm and humid weather is going to continue but it won't be wall-to-wall sunshine, although there will be good sunshine. Showers will develop later in the week, especially on Thursday and Friday. Thunderstorms are likely," he said.

"In general the winds are very light, and temperatures will be above 20C every day. Dublin is a bit cooler - about 18C or 19C."

The west coast is expected to get the best of the hot weather, experiencing temperatures to rival Spain, Portugal, and parts of France, and the mercury will sizzle to 26C in places - a far cry from the snow and freezing temperatures witnessed in March.

Aoife Bermingham and son Senan (eight months) of Portmarnock enjoying the good weather on Portmarnock Beach. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Aoife Bermingham and son Senan (eight months) of Portmarnock enjoying the good weather on Portmarnock Beach. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Chris Byrne from Kildare with Yorkshire terrier Tank at the beach. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

"We would always recommend people put on their sunscreen in this weather," said Mr Luijkx. At Dublin Zoo, zookeepers always take extra precautions with the animals in the heat but Gerry Creighton, team leader at the home of Dublin's wildest residents, told the Irish Independent that rolls of thunder wouldn't bother the animals much.

He explained the animals tend to retreat indoors if the weather gets too much for them.

"The animals are in tune with the weather and rarely have adverse reactions to it, and they always have the option to go inside their houses if they would prefer," he said.

In the past, the elephants have even seemed to enjoy the dramatic weather events rather than become startled by a rumbling storm.

Sarah Cribbin from Co Kildare with Buster the Labrador enjoying the good weather in Portmarnock. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Sarah Cribbin from Co Kildare with Buster the Labrador enjoying the good weather in Portmarnock. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

"During a thunderstorm a few years back, all the elephants went outside and looked up at the sky in curiosity," said Mr Creighton. "They then went for a swim in the pool and went about their normal day, unfazed by the conditions."

Most of the animals are used to warm and cold climates and acclimatise naturally to the heat, but there are a number of things the keepers do to help their charges stay cool.

Keepers will freeze fruit, veg and other food into ice cubes and give these to the animals as a way of keeping them hydrated - these are typically given to the larger cats, primates and tapirs.

Meanwhile, keepers will also give the elephants regular showers to help them cool down, while elephants often give themselves a sand bath by spraying sand on themselves to create a barrier of protection between the sun and their skin.

Faolan Murray (three) and Lily-Rose Murray (eight months) from Co Armagh. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Faolan Murray (three) and Lily-Rose Murray (eight months) from Co Armagh. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Dublin Zoo's habitats are set up in a way to offer the animals shelter if they need it; the orang utans and gorillas climb up the trees to feel the breeze. While there was a time when the keepers put sun cream on pigs to protect their skin, this was for a certain breed of pig.

Dublin Zoo has Tamworth pigs in the Family Farm, and they have hair and a darker skin which offers more protection. It is just a few months since 'snowmageddon' when we were knee-deep in snow drifts and in the grip of a sliced pan shortage, now we may soon be panic-buying barbecues and ice cream.

Smyths Toys expects its paddling pools to sell out quickly, and it has brought in extra stocks of its 8ft pools as a result.

Tesco Ireland said the fine weather has already sparked a run on everything from ice cream and barbecues to salads.

"We've seen an uplift across stores for sun-related items including outdoor furniture, garden equipment, including barbecues, sun cream and seasonal clothing," said a spokeswoman.

Irish Independent

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