Mercury Levels Plunge As Ireland Experiences First Bite Of Winter

A frosty morning by John Kelly.
Mercury levels dipped as low as -3c in parts of the country last night as the first significant cold spell of Winter 2010-11 got underway.  

The lowest temperatures were recorded in the South West, Mid West and Midlands overnight.  Further widespread sharp to severe frosts are forecast over the coming week while much of the country also is expected to see some snow.
Frosty start to Monday, 22 Nov 2010 in Co Clare. Pic Mark Dunphy
AA Roadwatch warned motorists to drive with care this morning after black ice was reported throughout the country.  The worst affected routes are N17 Sligo/Galway Rd at Tuam, N4 Collooney Bypass,  N6 Galway/Dublin Rdat Kilbeggan, M18 Ennis Bypass,  N22 Cork/Kilarney Rd at Ballyvourney,  N3 Dublin/Cavan Rd at Butlers Bridge, and the Frenchpark/Boyle Rd (R361) in Co Roscommon.

Meanwhile, foggy conditions have been reported around Castlebar, Co Mayo. and on the N18 Gort/Galway Rd between Clarinbridge and Oranmore in Co Galway. Motorists are reminded to use their fog lights in the affected areas.

Commenting on the potential for more disruptive weather later this week, iWeather Online forecaster Peter O’Donnell said: “The weather will turn increasingly wintry by Wednesday.  The day will start off with a sharp frost with lows of -6 to -3 C.  Fog may be widespread and slow to clear inland.  Some sunshine may develop for a while, then cloudy weather will move in with a mixture of sleet and snow breaking out.  Rather light falls of snow are expected, but road conditions may become poor as a result.  Temperatures will reach no higher than 4-5C during the day and considerably lower where fog persists.”

He added: “Thursday to Monday should be a very interesting, wintry period with very cold air pushing into Ireland on moderate NE winds.  Even in the daytime, temperatures will be hard pressed to reach 2-3 C and will fall readily to about -4 C at night.  Widespread snow showers are likely with just some mixing to sleet or rain very close to sea level and due to the warmer sea temperatures.  Accumulations of snow are likely, with some places seeing between 2-5 cms.”

Snow is a possibility later this week for areas north of this line. This line will change with each run so snow lovers should not lose hope if they are south of it. The latest medium range models bode well for more widespread snow showers come the end of the week and most if not all of the country will be at risk of seeing some snow. Higher ground, 150-200asl, have the greatest chance of seeing snow accumulating in any of the heavier showers.