Big freeze tonight but less cold conditions to follow


The current cold spell will slowly ease over the weekend but tonight will be one of the coldest nights of the winter to date as temperatures dip to as low as minus 6 or minus 7c, particularly in inland parts of east Munster and Leinster.

Met √Čireann has issued a Status Yellow Low Temperature/Ice warning for Ireland which will remain in effect until midday on Saturday.  There will be hazardous icy conditions in places with a widespread severe frost and pockets of freezing fog but it will become less cold in the west and northwest from early Saturday morning.



Some wintry showers of sleet and snow will also affect the far southeast of the country overnight.  See below precipitation chart c/o Meteociel.fr.


 

More freezing conditions are expected on Saturday night but it will be less cold than previous nights with Atlantic coastal locations likely staying above freezing.

Tuesday night was the coldest night of the winter so far with four of Met √Čireann's synoptic stations recording temperatures lower than the previous record set in Dunsany, County Meath on December 7th (-4.7 °C). The coldest locations were Markree Castle in Sligo (-6.3 °C), Athenry in Galway (-6.1 °C), Mount Dillon in Roscommon (-5.2 °C) and Gurteen in Tipperary (-5.2 °C). 


11.45PM temp update:
-5.7c Cavan
-5c Dublin Airport
-4.8c Miltownpass, Westmeath & Kilmallock, Limerick
-4.6c Rathangan, Kildare
-4.4c Navan, Meath
-4.6c Kilkenny
-3.6c Omagh, Tyrone
-3.3c Oranmore, Galway & Belfast, Antrim & Quin, Clare
-3.2c Tullow, Carlow & Downpatrick, Down
-3.1c Portmarnock, Dublin
-2.8c Banbridge, Down
-2.7c Raheen, Limerick
-2.3c Waterford
-2c Carrick-On-Suir, Tipperary
-1.8c Buncrana, Donegal & Boyle, Roscommon
-1.7c Aghoo, Leitrim
-1.2c Ballincollig, Cork
-1.1c Wicklow
-0.1c Carne, Wexford
0c Bushmills, Antrim
0.3c Dungarvan, Waterford
0.4c Kilcrohane, Cork
0.8c Carrigaholt, Clare
1.3c Westport, Mayo
2.2c Castlegregory, Kerry
 

The below NASA MODIS image of Ireland from today (Friday) shows light snow cover in many inland locations in Leinster.


Tomorrow (Saturday) will be the slow start to a transition away from the cold for a while, but with only a weak westerly flow available, the cold air may be hard to move out of many eastern and central counties. It will likely warm up a little faster in west Munster, west and north Connacht and west Ulster where highs could reach 7 C, but further east, highs of 2 to 5 C are more likely.

According to IWO Senior Forecaster Peter O'Donnell, "Sunday continues this slow process under partly cloudy skies, a less severe frost to start in some places (lows -4 to +2 C) then highs reaching about 9 C in the west, 6 C in the east. The warming trend will be largely dry but there could be scattered outbreaks of drizzle or light rain in the northwest at times."

"Monday will also be a bit milder in the south but there could be a slight relapse to colder temperatures in the north as a weak disturbance turns winds around to the northwest briefly there. Scattered wintry showers could follow. Highs will be in the range of 4 to 8 C from north to south.

"Tuesday and Wednesday are looking somewhat milder again, although in east Ulster and north Leinster the colder air from Monday's incursion may try to hang around most of the day. Eventually some steady rain is likely to follow by Wednesday. Highs in the south and west near 10 C both days, east around 8 C, north 5 to 7 C.

"The outlook beyond mid-week is for slightly colder air to return in a variable wind regime at first, followed by an easterly that might pull in significantly colder air at some point around the 16th-17th. Too soon to be very reliable guidance but some models are showing the potential for a frontal boundary event near or through Ireland in this period meaning that some areas (most likely north and east) could see some snow," added Peter.

Meanwhile, Met √Čireann has also issued a Status Yellow Small Craft Warning. Northerly winds will reach force 6 or higher today (Friday) on Irish coasts from Belfast Lough to Carnsore Point to Mizen Head, becoming confined to southern sea areas tonight. Southwest winds will reach force 6 or higher tomorrow (Saturday) on Irish coasts from Rossan Point to Malin Head to Fair Head.

Northerly winds will reach force 6 or higher today (Friday) on Irish coasts from Belfast Lough to Carnsore Point to Mizen Head, becoming confined to southern sea areas tonight. Southwest winds will reach force 6 or higher tomorrow (Saturday) on Irish coasts from Rossan Point to Malin Head to Fair Head.


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Kathleen Gallagher sent US this photo from Errigal Mountain in Donegal.




Edward Lowe sent us the below photo from the Galtee Mountains where the temperature at the summit dropped to as low as -5c today.  This is a good example of rime ice, which in this case likely formed as a result of the dense fog we have seen recently.