| 13.6°C Dublin

Balmy 12C? Santa will think he's in the wrong country . . .

CHRISTMAS Day is likely to be one of the warmest on record, rivalling the birthplace of Jesus -- Bethlehem in Israel.

Double-digit temperatures are forecast for the entire Christmas weekend.

Unlike last year when much of the country was blanketed in snow and ice and we shivered through sub-zero temperatures, this year will be quite balmy, with the mercury set to climb as high as 12C if not 13C, according to Met Eireann.

But it's unlikely it will break the last record set on Christmas Day in 1974 when temperatures hit 13.7C at Dublin Airport.

However, the unseasonably warm weather could well put other traditional Christmas hotspots in the shade.


While here the temperature will hover around 12C, in Bethlehem, Athens, Barcelona and Nice it will struggle to hit 11C.

The eastern half of the country should remain mostly dry and even bright in some areas.

However, it will also be quite breezy with strong southwesterly winds and generally cloudy conditions.

The north and west can expect patches of drizzle and outbreaks of rain.

St Stephen's Day will be similarly mild, with temperatures expected to hit between nine and 11C during the day.

However, more rain and drizzle are forecast for the western and southern half of the country with strong winds.

Meanwhile, Santa may think he has touched down in the wrong country when he makes his rounds here tonight.

Overnight temperatures are not expected to drop below 9-10C; a far cry from the frosty -15.7C recorded at the Casement aerodrome in Dublin on Christmas Day last year.

Last-minute shoppers may, however, find themselves battling wind and rain on Christmas Eve, especially in the north-west, although it will be generally mild in most areas.

The mild conditions are not expected to last beyond Tuesday when rain moves in across the country, dropping daytime temperatures to between five and 9C.

Irish Independent