Weather News In Brief - Dec 21 2010

The Boortree, Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal. Pic by Grainne Kelly. 

Commuters and people returning home for Christmas continue to have their travel plans disrupted as the bad weather throughout Europe shows no signs of easing, reports the Irish Times.  Heavy snows along the east coast of the country forced Dublin airport to suspend all flights for over five hours last night and caused traffic chaos across the city. 

N11 late last night
The Irish Times also reports that Met Eireann believes temperatures are forecast to hit between 8 and 10 degrees on Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day.  Weather forecaster Joan Blackburn said milder temperatures are due to arrive on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day when a belt of rain is due to cross the country.

According to AA Roadwatch heavy snow overnight and further snowfall this morning has led to difficult and dangerous conditions in Leinster and Connaught. Widespread severe ice is a problem across the country with temperatures as low as -14 degrees.  *CONNAUGHT* *MAYO* Very heavy snowfall overnight around Castlebar and Westport. Secondary routes are treacherous, and visibility is poor in parts. *GALWAY* Fresh snowfall in Galway City is causing problems for motorists. * *WICKLOW/WEXFORD* Fresh heavy snow on the N11 at Jack Whites, Arklow, Wicklow and Gorey. Avoid Kilgarron Hill, Enniskerry, Wicklow Gap and Sally Gap. Care needed between Ballyknockan and Lackan. For more click HERE

The International, Belfast City and City of Derry are open this morning but cancellations and delays are expected to continue.  Cork, Shannon and Dublin airports are open this morning. The Dublin Airport Authority says: Our snow and ice clearing crew worked throughout the night as temperatures dropped to -9 degrees to clear the runway, taxiway and associated apron areas in time for the start up of flight operations this morning. Met Eireann have advised us to expect slight to moderate showers throughout the day and we are preparing for this. There are some delays and cancellations to the flight schedule today therefore passengers are advised to consult with the airline or airline's website before coming to the airport today.”

Most Bus √Čireann services around the country are operating as per normal this morning with some delays and diversions in affected areas. The main commuter routes in the east and north east are operating this morning. Some town-to-town services in the north east are currently disrupted. MORE.  Disruption to some Dublin Bus services. MORE. Full service on Intercity, DART and Irish rail commuter routes . Full service on Luas Red and Green lines

Night curfews were lifted and ticket refunds offered at Heathrow on Monday as authorities took a series of unusual steps to ease the chaos at Europe's busiest airport in the run-up to the hectic Christmas-New Year holiday period, according to the Washington Post. Across the continent, there were similar scenes of disruption for a third day as early winter snow hit air, road and rail travellers struggling to get home for one of the biggest holidays on the calendar.
Union Wood in Collooney Co.Sligo. Pic Pat O'Malley
Australia normally experiences temperatures of 86F (30C) at this time of year, but the chances of a rare white Christmas have increased after plunging temperatures and snow swept across the east of the country, reports The Telegraph. Freezing winds from Antarctica, blown up to Australia by a low-pressure system in the Southern Ocean, gave the country a taste of the conditions that are causing havoc across Europe.

There are hints of milder weather later in western areas during the Christmas period, although the emphasis remains on cold weather, reports

Two minor tremors struck off the north western coast of Norway yesterday. The quakes measures 3.4 and 3.8 on the Richter Scale. MORE

The sun went spotless yesterday, the first time in quite a while. MORE

Ben Keenan sent in this video of his walk home to Dublin 18 last night