Low temperature and ice warning issued for 14 counties

A status yellow low temperature and ice warning has been issued for fourteen counties ahead of what could be the coldest night of the winter so far.

Met √Čireann has issued a Weather Warning for Connacht, Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Longford and Clare where temperatures will fall to between -2 °C and -5 °C, possibly colder locally, with a widespread severe frost.  Icy patches may form on untreated surfaces. Freezing temperatures will persist well into the day on Wednesday.  

The UK Met Office (UKMO) has also issued a Status Yellow Ice Warning for counties Antrim, Armagh, Down and Tyrone.  The UKMO says icy surfaces causing difficult travel conditions in places.


Tuesday night could see the coldest air temperature of the year being recorded despite temperatures in coastal fringes of the west and east hovering at or slightly above freezing.  Dunsany in County Meath recorded the lowest temperature to date on December 7th 2020 when mercury levels dipped to minus 4.8 °C.  Gurteen in County Tipperary registered minus 4.6 °C on Sunday morning (3rd January 2021).


Temperatures will struggle to rise above freezing in parts of the midlands and west during Wednesday with frost, ice and freezing fog persisting.  Temperatures will reach 2-5 °C in southeastern and northwestern coastal locations.

Wednesday will see wind directions slowly turning back to north-northeast, which may allow areas of wintry showers to develop in Ulster and Connacht, but coastal Leinster may still see some as well (inland drift may be limited with these).

A weak band of rain will extend from the northwest on Wednesday evening and will slowly extend southeastwards over Ireland, turning to patchy sleet and snow in some places and leading to light accumulations of between 1cm and 2cm.  The band of rain, sleet and snow will be preceded by freezing fog and frost away from the northwest as temperatures dip to between +2 °C and -3 °C.

Friday will be a largely dry day with temperatures climbing to between 2 and 5 °C with further wintry showers in western, northern and northeastern counties.  Friday night will bring another widespread severe frost and icy patches forming as temperatures dip to between minus 2 °C and minus 5 °C.

A low evolution to less cold conditions is expected as the weekend progresses.

According to IWO Senior Forecaster Peter O'Donnell, "Saturday will see mostly cloudy conditions with a weak warm front approaching, but it may take most of the day to get temperatures up very much from their early readings near 2 °C, eventually it could be as mild as 6 to 8 °C.  Sunday and Monday at this point look milder again with highs closer to normal values, around 9 to 10 °C, with some light rain at times."

"The models are generally swinging back to seasonably mild weather patterns after that, although some have a cold day or two wedged into that milder regime. I am not very confident of model scenarios past five or six days at this point and it certainly seems quite plausible that a second and perhaps more severe cold spell could develop later in the month, but beyond the reach of the guidance at present," he added.


The latest ECMWF output shows high pressure pushing colder air away from Ireland and introducing milder conditions.

Yesterday, IWO reported on the forecast Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) and how this meteorological phenomenon has in the past to a repeat of the 'Beast from the East' conditions of December 2010 and February 2018.  

A Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) refers to a swift jump in temperatures in the stratosphere over polar regions that is sometimes linked to the onset of colder weather in Ireland and Britain.  History tells us that less than half of all SSWs lead to an outbreak of severe cold weather here and therefore, no conclusions can be drawn at this early stage.

Click here for the full details.


David Butler took the below video from Scarr Mountain in Wicklow today.  Scarr mountain sits on the eastern edge of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, some 5 kilometres north of Glendalough.