Summer returns to shine on Northern Ireland

Sunset over lake
Image caption Indian summer sunset captured by Paul Evans at Killylane Reservoir, County Antrim

Out and about in towns and cities around Northern Ireland recently you will almost certainly have noticed the unseasonably high temperatures.

On Monday, parts of County Fermanagh were basking in the sunshine and many other places followed not far behind as temperatures rose steadily to a high of almost 20°C, a temperature more normally seen in mid-summer.

This at a time when, on average, temperatures should be sitting at around 13°C.

Meteorologist and BBC Weather Forecaster Angie Philips said that we may be experiencing that fabled season of myth, the "Indian summer".

These are periods of warm, dry and calm weather which sometimes occur in the autumn months.

Angie explained that Northern Ireland has been getting a steady feed of weather from the continent which has kept temperatures above what would normally be expected at this time of year.

"Just last week, we had low pressure to the south-west competing with high pressure in the north-west, and together they dragged the warmer weather up from France and further inland" she said.

Snow

So, how does autumn this year compare with previous ones?

Statistics on the Met Office website indicate that, in recent years, it has not been unusual to get such high temperatures in October.

The weather this time last year was mainly unsettled, but the mean temperature was 1.4°C above the 1971-2000 normal.

Although in 2008 mean temperatures were below average, the thermometer still reached 18°C in Helens Bay on 10 October.

However, by the end of the month snow was falling in Lough Fea in County Tyrone.

Temperatures reached the high teens in October 2007 and October 2006 was described as "another warm month".

The good news is that high pressure remains in control this week, so more of the current settled weather is on the way.

On a less promising note, more cloud cover is expected and, with less sun around, temperatures are unlikely to reach anywhere near the highs we have been seeing recently.

So enjoy this year's Indian summer while it's still here.

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