Ireland enjoys the hottest day of the year so far

Temperatures reach 27 degrees in Mayo as Irish Water warns hosepipe ban ‘increasingly likely’

Brittas Bay beach in Co Wicklow on Monday, the hottest day of the year so far. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Brittas Bay beach in Co Wicklow on Monday, the hottest day of the year so far. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

 

Monday was the hottest day of the year so far with temperatures exceeding 27 degrees in the west of the country.

Temperatures reached 27.1 degrees in Newport, Co Mayo, exceeding the high of 26.8 degrees recorded in Mount Dillon, Co Roscommon on Saturday. Monday also marked the first day of the meteorological summer.

Tuesday is now forecast to be the hottest day of 2020 so far with the warm plume of air moving over Dublin and Cork and highest temperatures in Munster and Leinster.

The recent heat and sunshine is officially classified as a warm spell – five or more consecutive days of temperatures above 25 degrees – but is not considered a heat wave, said Met Éireann forecaster Siobhán Ryan. In order to reach heat wave status, night-time temperatures must remain above 15-16 degrees.

The highest temperature ever recorded for the month of May in Ireland was 28.4 degrees in Co Kerry in 1997. Unfortunately, the warm spell is set to end tomorrow evening with temperatures dropping back into the mid-teens and the arrival of more wind and rain.

Meanwhile, Irish Water has said it is “increasingly likely” a hosepipe ban will be put in place following increased demand on water and deteriorating drought conditions.

The authority has urged the public to choose handwashing over power washing and warned the increased demand for water as businesses reopen was being exacerbated by the warm wearing and “widespread emergence of drought conditions”.

Some 16 of the national water utility’s 900 drinking water schemes have hit “drought status” with another 38 at risk of going into drought, Irish Water said on Monday.

Forest fire rages across Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth on Sunday night. Photograph: Coillte
Forest fire rages across Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth on Sunday night. Photograph: Coillte

Forest fires

The warm weather has also sparked the spread of forest fires around the country. On Monday fire fighters brought a “significant” blaze on the Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth under control after the forest fire raged through the area on Sunday night.

Coillte helicopters and local county council fire services were called to the scene after the blaze broke out in woodland on the hilly peninsula near Carlingford in Co Louth.

No homes or businesses were evacuated but a fire line has been built around one residence which was threatened by the blaze. The worst of the fire has been brought under control but videos on social media showed large plumes of smoke still billowing in the area on Monday morning.

Pat Neville, communications manager for Coillte, said it was believed the fire may have been started by a campfire in the area. “Our message is to repeat the warning that people should not light any fires outdoors during this weather, it’s reckless behaviour.

“Forest fires are extremely expensive and cost hundreds of thousands of euro to recover the damage,” Mr Neville told The Irish Times. “The economic damage they cause is bad, impact on wildlife is devastating but most of all it’s the danger faced by firefighting staff and the air corps who are putting their lives at risk to stop these.”

A large fire which broke out in Clonagh, Enfield on the Kildare-Meath border on Saturday near an explosives factory and destroyed more than one hundred hectares of newly planted forest has also been brought under control, confirmed Coillte.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine issued a red fire warning on Friday, saying there was an “extreme fire risk” and called on the public to take “immediate action” if a blaze breaks out. The red fire warning expired on Monday.