Here today, gone tomorrow - that's sun for you

Thu, Mar 29, 2012, 01:00

ENJOY THE last day of heat today, say forecasters – as it marks the end of almost a week of temperatures on a par with those in many holiday destinations.

The day will be fine and sunny, with highs of 18 degrees, but cooler temperatures from tomorrow will bring an end to the unseasonably warm spell.

The sun continued to shine yesterday as temperatures again rose above 20 degrees in some parts of the country – with the northwest getting the best of it.

With high pressure located just off the Mayo coast for a time, Newport was the hottest place to be, with the mercury rising to 21.1 degrees at about 3pm. But, with temperatures being recorded on the hour every hour, meteorologist Joanna Donnelly said it may have been warmer in between.

The rest of the country also got its share of the rays, with temperatures in Phoenix Park at 19.9 degrees, Valentia at 18.7 and Mount Dillon in Co Westmeath at 19.5 degrees. While acknowledging that temperatures were higher than average, Ms Donnelly said the high pressure causing them was “not particularly unusual at this time of year”.

“We’ve had record-breaking temperatures at Belmullet this week, but it hasn’t been record-breaking in the rest of the country because this has happened in the past. It’s not so completely unheard of,” she said.

“With high pressure comes cloud-free skies. It’s a warm air mass so the ground heats up, releases heat up into the air and it gets warmer,” she said.

As temperatures in Ireland have been edging past those of Crete and Barcelona this week, sales of sun cream have been climbing too, according to pharmacies.McCabe’s pharmacy in Dundrum Town Centre said sales of sun protection creams were up 20 per cent on this time last year.

“We usually see an increase from the end of April, but it’s started earlier,” said pharmacy technician Arun Katheri.

“Sales have been increasing since the weekend. People are buying high-factor sun creams for their children – mostly factor 50,” he said. Sales of fake tan were also on the up as people started to bare more skin in the warm weather, he continued.The run on sun cream will likely be short-lived, however, as temperatures return to more seasonal levels as of tomorrow.

“[Today] is really the last day of the really good weather,” Ms Donnelly added. “It’s going to turn cooler on Friday. It will still be quite mild in southern counties on Friday, with temperatures up to 15 degrees – but by Saturday it will be cooler still.”