FEELING hot, hot, hot!
Temperatures soared to a sizzling 25 degrees and residents basked in the rays across South Yorkshire yesterday in the warmest day of the year so far.
The welcome warmth – hotter than Rome and the same as Madrid – was a far cry from the pouring rain of just last week.
And it seems summer is here to stay - for the weekend, at least. Forecaster Stephen Davenport, from Meteo Group, said: “Temperatures are well up. In the Sheffield area we’re looking at around 24 to 25 degrees with yesterday expected to be the warmest day of the year so far.
“The nights are pretty sultry and humid. There is a very small chance of a sharp shower on Thursday afternoon, but that threat disappears at the weekend.
“Temperatures will then be between 20 and 22 degrees but there is more of a breeze, with less humidity. It looks like the good weather is here until at least Monday.”
As workers grabbed a slice of sun on their lunch breaks, and families filled parks, sales of summer essentials also soared.
Barbecues and picnic food flew off supermarket shelves while sun-lovers queued outside ice cream vans.
“Sales are on the up!” said Rosita Granelli, of ice cream institution Granellis.
“This weather is the boost we’ve been waiting for. We had sun in March, then bad weather, and now summer seems to have taken off. Long may it continue.”
Eddie Andrew, owner of Our Cow Molly ice cream, was rushing to deliver to retailers.
He said: “With the small tubs we have sold in excess of 2,000 tubs today.
“There’s an old farming saying, make hay while the sun shines, and we do the same with ice cream.”
In Doncaster’s Yorkshire Wildlife Park visitor numbers had risen and animals were loving the sudden heat.
Receptionist Laura Shawcroft said: “There have been more people the last couple of days. The animals have adapted to our climate but they do enjoy this weather, especially the lions!”
Barbecue food was selling fast at Eatons Butchers, in Tickhill. Owner Paul Eaton said: “We’ve been making lots of kebabs all morning, this weather is a bit of a blessing. Burgers have sold out a few times so we have to keep making more.”
Crowds relaxed by the fountains in Sheffield city centre’s Peace Gardens. Wybourn resident Lucy Louca treated daughter Miela, three, to a messy ice cream.
Lucy said: “She has had a good day, we’ve been to the theatre to see The Tiger Who Came to Tea and we’re going to sit in the Peace Gardens for a bit. It was heavy rainfall just last week so we are making the most of it!”
Sheffield Hallam University students Nic Lundy, Josh Haigh and Lauren Vokes, all aged 20, were also tucking in to ice creams.
Nic said: “We’re all just relaxing in the sun while we can - it’s been really cold up to now.”
After work, crowds headed to beer gardens.
Thornbridge Brewery said it was looking into launching an outside bar at newly-launched venture the Cellar Door, under The Beauchief, on Abbeydale Dale.
Simon Webster, chief executive, said: “We’ve seen an improvement in trade since the sun has come out thanks to the beer garden.
“The space allows plenty of people to come and mingle for a drink after work and have some food – a proper outside bar is something we’re considering looking into.”
Other retailers were hopeful the weather would continue.
Angela Adams, sales manager at TJ Hughes, said: “The weather has killed our sales so far this year so we’re hoping that will change.
“This week alone things has improved, and since Saturday we are starting to do really well on gardening.”