Sunday 19 August 2018

Button up, we're all set for a sub-zero St Patrick's Day

White-out: Seven-year-old Brian O'Rourke from Garryhill, Co Carlow looks up at the top of the snow drifts. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke
White-out: Seven-year-old Brian O'Rourke from Garryhill, Co Carlow looks up at the top of the snow drifts. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke

Sean Nolan

Ireland is set to see above average temperatures this weekend, but there are early signs that St Patrick's weekend may see a return to sub-zero conditions.

As the clear up from last week's extreme weather continues in some parts of the country, Ireland avoided a second major snowfall in the space of a week as parts of Britain were hit with severe weather conditions.

Saturday will start wet but the clouds will clear to a brighter day, with temperatures forecast to hit 12 degrees, above average for this time of year.

Sunday will see yet more rain but that will mean that temperatures will stay high, up to 11C in places.

Met Eireann say the signs are that the early days of next week will see a mix of cloudy days and showers but temperatures will remain steady in the 9C to 11C range.

However, there are some very early signs that next weekend, St Patrick's weekend, could see a return to sub-zero temperatures.

Well-known online forecaster @CarlowWeather published a chart from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts which predicted cold Arctic and Siberian air possibly again encroaching into our airspace on Sunday, March 18.

It was from this same region that the 'Beast from the East' emerged to batter the country.

And online weather forecasting service AccuWeather are also predicting a cold snap come the evening of March 17, forecasting an icy start to Sunday March 18.

Meanwhile, warnings have been issued over potential avalanches in the Wicklow Mountains.

According to the Dublin-Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team, overhanging shelves of snow on the crest of mountains have built up during the storm.

Spokesperson John Kavanagh told the Irish Independent that if these 'snow cornices' break off they can trigger avalanches.

"Over the last week, snow has built up on the western and southern side of the Wicklow Mountains from the wind blowing from the east.

"My gut feeling is that there will be avalanches in various locations when these cornices break off, but there will probably be no one around when they do."

Mr Kavanagh added that the rescue team's biggest concern is snow tourists.

"They do unfortunately cause a lot of problems, but thankfully we don't have many people skiing in isolated locations like these.

"The avalanches will most likely occur on high mountains with steep slopes like the South Prison in Lugnaquilla."

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