Met Éireann has issued a high temperature warning for much of the country for the period from Thursday afternoon until Sunday morning, with heatwave conditions expected.
The status yellow warning covers all the counties of Leinster and Munster, where temperatures away from coastal areas are forecast to rise to between 27 and 29 degrees. The forecaster said it would also remain uncomfortably warm at night during this time.
Paul Downes, a Met Éireann meteorologist, said that “for the first time this summer we can say with a high degree of confidence that heatwave criteria will be met in some parts of the country”.
“The definition of a heatwave in Ireland is shaded air temperatures reaching highs of above 25 degrees on five or more consecutive days at the same location,” he said.
A temperature of 27.3 degrees was recorded at Moore Park in Co Carlow on Tuesday.
Wednesday is set to see temperatures of between 23 and 26 degrees nationwide, but it will be noticeably warmer in southern and eastern areas. Dublin can expect highs of 26 degrees, but other parts of Leinster and Munster could be warmer.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday are forecast to be hotter again, with very little in the way of a breeze to mitigate the temperatures. There could be highs of 29 degrees on Friday or Saturday, which are forecast to be the hottest days of the current spell. Sunday will still be hot with temperatures of between 23 and 27 degrees expected nationwide.
Met Éireann forecaster Liz Gavin said temperatures of 27 degrees would be “widespread” on Friday and Saturday.
“Temperatures will steadily climb over the coming days. There is a possibility of a breakdown on Sunday, but it will be very hot and dry before that,” she said.
There could be rain early next week, bringing an end to a prolonged period of very dry weather which began at the start of last month.
The dry conditions will create an increased risk of forest fires. Fire engines from Swords, Balbriggan and Finglas were called to burning fields near Swords in Co Dublin on Tuesday evening, after stubble caught fire because of the heat.
In England, Thames Water has warned that it may have to introduce a hose pipe ban in the coming weeks for 15 million people living in parts of the south. Southeast Water and Southern Water have already introduced similar bans.
However, Irish Water said the “vast majority” of its 750 water treatment plants are working normally and there is no prospect of a hose pipe ban being introduced.
Tom Cuddy, Irish Water’s head of asset operations, said rainfall in the last week of July helped to mitigate the impact of dry weather earlier in the month.
There are currently 15 areas impacted by shortages and Irish Water said it had implemented a range of measures including tankering and/or night-time restrictions to protect supplies and ensure the supply keeps flowing to homes and businesses. Around 60 supplies across the State are being closely monitored to ensure that normal supply is maintained for the rest of the summer and into autumn, it added.
The yellow weather warning issued by the forecaster states there is a risk of heat stroke among older people. Alone, a charity supporting older people, has advised them to keep cool and hydrated in the coming week and to take regular breaks from the sun.
“We are also calling on all members of the public to remember their older neighbours, friends and relatives living alone and to consider their needs; if there is anything you think you can help with, no matter how small, even dropping in cold bottled water. It could make a world of difference to an older person during these challenging times,” the charity’s chief executive Seán Moynihan said.
In response to the hot weather forecast for the coming days, Dublin City Council is co-ordinating the response to ensure homeless people at risk are sheltered. Arrangements are in place with service providers to ensure that temporary shelter will continue to be available to all who wish to access it, the council said in a statement.