A 2-second blast of thunder left most of East Tyrone on high alert throughout the night with police reporting 1340 calls from worried homeowners. PSNI officials also admitted they spent a couple of hours driving about looking for the noise before the Met Office in Belfast informed them that the sound was actually thunder.
The blast, which occurred around 10pm last night, was described as something close to the sound of a nuclear bomb according to Dungannon pub-owner Jamesey Sloan:
“I’ve never heard anything like it. There were boys running all over the town screaming and shouting about the war being back on and about heading to the bunkers. Women were crying and wailing, saying rosaries in the middle of the street. It was like a film.”
Meanwhile in Ardboe, thousands of residents got into their boats and rowed for Antrim on the other side of the Lough. Patsy Coney remarked:
“Ghost oh boys it was tara. We thought maybe the Sperrins were falling down or something so we all sailed East. A couple of boys swam it. The clergy were handing out Last Rites all over the joint.”
PSNI spokesman Herr Steinburger admitted there were a few red faces in the force:
“Yes, we got caught up in the whole excitement. We had 400 officers out in jeeps looking for the noise. When you add in the 200 or so vigilantes also out searching for the noise there was chaos on the roads. We thought it came from a poitin barn in Stewartstown but he said he’d made all his Christmas batches months ago.”
BBC Weather confirmed it was just one short blast of thunder and warned locals not to go clean mad again tomorrow when hailstones are predicted.
People in the county this morning woke up to yet another hot day, with many yearning for the typical Tyrone summers of drizzle, cloud and the occasional sleet shower.
“Last night in bed was just awful”, said a 62 year old man from Sandholes who asked not to be named. “Jaysus, I was sweating like a galloping stallion. I had to strip off the flannelette long johns at one point it was so hot, and then did the missus not start getting ideas in her head. I had to turn on the light to wise her up”.
Men are facing the prospect of now having to change their shirt at least once a week before children and elderly relatives start passing out from the overpowering smell, whilst many others have spent the weekend searching through car manuals to find how to switch the air conditioning on.
“This weather’s appalling”, said Jack Dolan, a door handle polisher from Kildress. “All we’re after is a wee bit of nice summer weather and what have we got? Scorching hot sun. Disaster. I’m sure it’s not my imagination, but years ago the summers seemed to be much better. Do you remember that summer of 87? Poured with rain every day for a month. Mighty. The Tones play deadly in the wet”.
A spokesperson for Dungannon & South Tyrone Council agreed.
“What we yearn for is the summers of yesteryear when a Tyrone summer was a proper summer. Lashing rain. At least we knew where we stood. We’re not set up for sunny days. We made the mistake of announcing on Saturday that it was 23 degrees in the shade. So a whole bunch of people from Stewartstown decided it would be better to stay the sun. We didn’t think it through”.
Dungannon Hospital confirmed that it has had an unprecedented number of people turning up with sunburn. “What are they playing at?” said Sheila Quinn from Edendork, one of the doctors on duty over the weekend. “Half of the people in this county would get third degree burns going out under a crescent moon, never mind a boiling hot sun. It’s tara. We admitted one man yesterday with the worst case of sunburn on his legs I’ve ever seen. We had to prescribe Viagra just to help keep the sheets off it”.
The Met Office confirmed that torrential rain is forecast for the rest of the summer.