First cold spell of winter 2013-14 gets underway


A cold front crossed Ireland overnight heralding the start of a much colder period of weather than of recent.

Wintry showers of hail or sleet are already affecting western and northern coastal counties while temperatures have dropped to as low as 3-5c in inland parts of Ulster and Connacht.

The highest mountain tops in West Munster, Connacht and Ulster will see a dusting of snow over the next 48 hours as further scattered heavy showers feed their way southeastwards.

The below MODIS image from midday shows a cold front pushing southeastwards across the UK having cleared from Ireland early this morning.

Further showers of hail and sleet are likely across the country during Tuesday and Wednesday but these will become much more scattered during Thursday when they will retreat to eastern and northern coastal fringes. In the meantime, a weak band of rain and sleet will also cross the country on Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.

Temperatures will dip close to or below freezing each night this week, especially in inland sheltered areas. Daytime temperatures are likely to recover somewhat by the weekend but night-time temperatures are set to plummet to as low as -3c or -4c in places by early next week.  Fog may also be slow to clear in some inland locations. Where fog persists, temperatures could remain close to freezing during daylight hours.The below temperature chart from shows the situation for next Monday at 6am.

Overall, this is by no means going to be a severe cold spell and most places away from the highest mountains will not see any lying snow. However, today’s drop in temperatures does signal the beginning of the first prolonged cold period of the winter season.

The below Arctic Oscillation chart, provided courtesy of NOAA, signifies that there very well could be periodic blasts of very cold air seeping south over Ireland during the next few weeks. How prolonged and severe these might be remains to be seen.