Long Range Weather Forecast For Ireland (8 February 2021)

TRENDS for the week of 8 to 14 Feb 2021

-- Temperatures will average 3 to 4 deg below normal, coldest around Tuesday-Wednesday, somewhat milder by Friday-Saturday, then settling back below average again around Sunday.
-- Total precipitation is likely to be near normal but the bulk of it will come on Thursday into Friday, and in many places will likely be a scenario of snow changing to rain; that phase will be fairly heavy on a daily basis but averaged over a weekly time frame closer to average in terms of total amounts.
-- Sunshine will be at a premium and any places that see much sunshine will do well to reach half of the average for mid-February.


TODAY will be windy and cold with a few localized bands of sleety mixed precipitation likely from the Irish Sea into central and north Leinster, as well as south and east Ulster. There could also be localized sleet or snow outbreaks in the Cork region by afternoon or more likely evening. Otherwise a lot of places will have a dry day with any localized snowfalls being in the trace to 3 cm range in most cases. Some sunshine could be recorded near the west coast but it will remain generally overcast. Highs will be in the 2 to 4 C range with winds easterly 50 to 70 km/hr adding a few degrees of chill to that.

TONIGHT will continue overcast, windy and cold with the coverage of east coast mixed wintry showers perhaps increasing slowly and turning more to snow in the mixtures. Some potential exists for thunder near the coast. Localized snowfall amounts of 2 to 5 cm possible. Lows -2 to zero C, winds easterly 50 to 70 km/hr. There may be outbreaks of sleet or snow near the south coast where winds might be sometimes a bit stronger (60 to 90 km/hr).

TUESDAY will continue windy and very cold with localized snowfalls in streamers coming in from the Irish Sea and along the south coast at times. Local snowfalls of 2 to 8 cm are possible. Mostly dry and cold in many areas however, and winds easterly 40 to 60 km/hr except 60 to 80 km/hr near the south coast. Highs 2 to 4 C.

WEDNESDAY will see little change in the pattern, however winds will turn a little more to the southeast which may change the distribution of any sea effect snow streamers, making the south coast a more productive source, and shifting the inland trajectory more towards south Ulster and the north midlands. Lows near -3 C and highs 1 to 4 C in east-southeast winds of 50 to 80 km/hr adding a considerable chill factor.

THURSDAY ... Most guidance now supports an active "breakdown" snowfall risk as milder Atlantic air slowly pushes into the far western counties but encounters resistance from the entrenched cold air. Snow may develop quite widely across many regions with potential for 10-20 cm amounts. It would change rather slowly to sleet and then rain only in the west-central and southern inland counties during the day, as temperatures worked their way up to 8 C in Kerry and 3-5 C in counties from Galway, Clare, Limerick around to Waterford. Lower temperatures would remain in place (-1 to +3 C) further east and north. Winds southeast 40 to 60 km/hr would turn more southerly in milder air to the west.

FRIDAY ... According to most current guidance (and confidence in all this remains moderate), the fronts would continue moving slowly through eastern counties as the milder air gained more of a foothold over western and then central counties. There could still be outbreaks of sleet and snow in parts of Leinster and Ulster, and a gradual change to rain or drizzle later in the day (although the concept of the cold never being totally eliminated from east Ulster or north Leinster remains an option). Temperatures would slowly moderate in areas starting out cold, and eventually most if not all areas would reach 8 C or thereabouts in south-southeast winds of 50 to 80 km/hr.

OUTLOOK ... There are two general themes in most guidance concerning weather trends for the following weekend and the week of 15 to 19 Feb. The first theme is that colder air won't be pushed very far to the east of Ireland and might remain in place as close as eastern Britain and the North Sea. That will make the weekend weather in Ireland mostly cloudy with near average temperatures in the 6 to 8 C range, possibly around 10 C in west Munster and coastal Connacht. Then a second theme emerges of a push back to the west of cold air, once again attacked by the Atlantic by about Monday in a second "breakdown" scenario although more of a frontal wave for the west which might not have gotten back into cold air before this begins. So another round of snow or sleet is quite possible around Monday in parts of eastern, central and northern counties. Temperatures would likely come back down to the 2 to 4 C range and after this event, fronts would not push back east but would tend to stall out and weaken allowing colder air to linger at least over eastern and northern counties for a considerable time into the following week. In fact some guidance suggests that there would be periodic renewals of very cold weather after that lasting well into the latter stages of February.

Forecast by Peter O'Donnell

Photo of Djouce Mountain by Hike and Climb