First Significant Cold Spell Of Winter 2010-11

A word of caution for visitors to this site hoping to see some 'snow days' in Ireland next week...

You can expect chilly but bright days next week if you live away from east and north facing coasts.   In fact the days will feel somewhat pleasant if you are wrapped up and out and about. Frost will be most severe in the west and south west with freezing fog lingering in some places here throughout the day.

Widespread snow will not be a feature of the weather during the first half of next week but high ground in eastern and northern coastal counties, along with inland Ulster, will see some snow.

Widespread snow will only become a reality when the easterly/northeasterly flow becomes a little more unstable and/or the Atlantic decides to get in on the act. That will only happen when the high currently over Iceland retreats towards and over Greenland. Should this happen, and the models indicate it will, we will see some more widespread showery activity next weekend and into the following week.

The retreat of that high north over Greenland, however, also will bring the Atlantic back into the setup. This isn't necessarily a bad thing however as by the time it comes knocking on the Valentia Island Lighthouse door, cold air will have been in place over us for more than 10 days.

Therefore, any Atlantic  system will bring snow at first should it track NE over Ireland and depending on how intense the blocking system is to our NE and NW could be forced to track back SE or S.  The ECM and GEFS models indicate that such a scenario will take place in the opening days of December.

Either way, there is a strong possibility that the upcoming cold spell will deliver a widespread snow event.  This event may signal the end of the upcoming cold spell but may also herald the next phase of an even longer cold spell of weather.

iWeather Online forecast Peter O'Donnell stated that the potential for snow will increase towards the end of next week: "We are monitoring this period for a possible wintry mix of snow, sleet, hail and rain in northeast winds associated with low pressure expected to move southwest from near Denmark to southern England. This could bring Ireland some locally heavy wet snowfalls especially well inland and on higher terrain. Temperatures could be as low as 2-4 C by day and -2 C at night. Winds may be fairly strong, NE 20-40 mph. This situation may change as the models get a better handle on the situation."

"Beyond that, the cold may dig in for several more days and the various long-range model depictions of milder air moving back in have to be taken with caution as this may just begin to move back further as time goes on", he added.