Weather News In Brief - Dec 31 2010

Many local authorities across Ireland are expected to lift restrictions on water supplies tonight as the country celebrates the New Year.  However, significant and widespread disruption to water supplies is likely to continue for days to come as Council workers work to identify and repair leaking water pipes.  Water levels in reservoirs also remain extremely low, despite some improvements in the last 24 hours. 

Tens of thousands of people remain without water across Northern Ireland while thousands more in the Republic of Ireland are facing another weekend of water shortages.  Standpipes and tankers have been set up at various points across the country to accommodate the worst affected.  The problems arose on St Stephen’s Day when a rapid thaw led to pipes bursting while increased demand for water resulted in a drop in reservoir levels.  For more on water cut-offs in your area visit your local authority website.

Latest infrared satellite view of western Europe. Image EUMETSAT.
  • Restaurateurs, hoteliers and publicans are predicting that tonight will be one of the busiest of the year, giving a much-needed fillip to the hospitality industry.Restaurants Association of Ireland president Paul Cadden told The Irish Times that the weather before Christmas had “put a lot of businesses under pressure” and tonight would be “vital” to restaurants.
  • A partial solar eclipse will be visible from much of the Northern Hemisphere on January 4 2011, according to the Rozhen National Astronomical Observatory.  A solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, fully or partially obscuring the Sun from the point of view of the Earth.  The January 4 2011 partial solar eclipse will be visible throughout Europe, North Africa and the northernmost parts of North America and Asia.
  •  The International Space Station will be visible to the naked eye in the skies over Ireland up to January 13th. More from Astronomy Ireland.
  • EMERGING SUNSPOT: The New Year could begin with a sunspot. A dark core is emerging over the sun's northeastern limb, and it appears to be a big one. Readers with solar telescopes should point their optics here. More from

BRITAIN: If you thought last week was as cold as you could bear it, brace yourself. Forecasters say the worst is yet to come, and this winter could be the harshest since the Thames froze over more than three centuries ago., reports the Daily Mail. Temperatures for December are the coldest on record, with the average reading close to minus 1c – almost six degrees below normal. And with forecasters warning that this winter’s ‘mini ice age’ might last until mid-March, this winter could be the worst since 1683-84 when a fair was held on the Thames.
CHINA: reports thatChina experienced the most frequent and severe weather during 2010, compared to weather in other years of the past decade.  Chen Zhenlin, a spokesman with the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), said the numbers of extremely high temperature days and extreme precipitation cases that China experienced in the year were rarely seen in history, as was the intensity and area effected by this weather.
AUSTRALIA: Sugar cane production in Australia may remain below “usual” levels next season as heavy rains affect crop development in the world’s third-largest exporter of the sweetener, Canegrowers have told Bloomberg. Australia harvested 27.3 million tons this year compared with a usual range of 32 million to 35 million tons, the group said Dec. 22. Raw sugar futures in New York extended a rally to a 30-year high this week on mounting concern that dry weather in Brazil, the world’s biggest producer, and rainfall in Australia will slash worldwide supplies.

  • Denis Quinn sent in this picture of an Igloo that he and his family constructed during December in Killala, Co. Mayo.  Denis said: “Our igloo took over 3 hours to build. We plan to build bigger one in 2011 with more help!!”
    Blizzard in Astoria, New York
  • And finally, for those of you not keen on the forecast for cold weather to return….