Hottest NI day ever as temperatures soar above 30Con July 17, 2021 at 4:28 pm

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Ballywatticock near Newtownards records 31.2 degrees, breaking a record set 45 years ago.

Killowen Sat 17 July

image copyrightKitnip

Temperatures in Northern Ireland reached record-breaking heights on Saturday as thermometers soared above 30C.

It is the hottest day on record with Ballywatticock, near Newtownards in County Down, recording a temperature of 31.2C.

The previous high was 30.8C set in the summers of 1976 and 1983.

Record-breaking temperatures require a series of factors to line up, one after another, and today they did just that.

The hottest day of the year so far has been provisionally recorded in the other three UK nations too, and it could be even warmer on Sunday.

In England, 30.7C was recorded at Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire; in Wales, Usk in Monmouthshire reached 29C, and in Scotland, 28.2C was recorded in Threave, in the Dumfries and Galloway region.

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A record-breaking day starts with a warm night. On Friday night, temperatures at Killowen on the County Down coast only briefly dipped below 15 degrees.

It needs lots of sunshine. On Saturday we have barely seen more than the wisp of a cloud and we are only just passed the longest day of the year, so the sun is still very powerful.

Groomsport Sat 17 July

image copyrightKathryn Bamber

And finally it needs very little breeze, With high pressure in charge that has certainly been the case on Saturday and we have seen the temperature rise hour by hour.

The temperatures had been rising tantalisingly through the afternoon.

First Killowen in County Down came close to 30C with 29.9C, before it was overtaken at 15:00 BST by the weather station at Ballywatticock.

Sitting in the shelter of Strangford Lough it was shielded from any afternoon sea breezes.

While the hourly temperatures at 15:00 and 16:00 BST were just below the old record of 30.8C, at 15:40 BST a temperature of 31.2C was recorded, breaking a record which was set in 1976 and only matched once in 1983.

Lattone Lough Sat 17 July

image copyrightCiara O’Flanagan

It has been a remarkably warm day for Northern Ireland.

But breaking temperature records is no longer a remarkable event, it is the reality of life on a warming planet.

In the northern hemisphere summer of 2019, more than 400 individual temperature records were broken.

Globally, 19 of the warmest 20 years on record have occurred since the year 2000.

And extreme summer heat can make torrential summer downpours more intense, bringing the destructive flooding that we’ve seen in Germany and Belgium this week.

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