Tuesday 11 December 2018

'Son of the Beast': Orange snow-ice warning in place as Ireland experiences 'cold winter regime'

  • Orange weather alert announced by Met Éireann
  • 'Snow-ice' warnings in place for St Patrick's weekend
  • Country set for 'heavy snow showers'
  • 'Son of the Beast' will bring temperatures of -5C
  • The Road Safety Authority advising all road users to take extra care over the weekend
A stunning aerial photo of snow-covered Wicklow Photo: Jerry Kennelly
A stunning aerial photo of snow-covered Wicklow Photo: Jerry Kennelly

Ralph Riegel and Denise Calnan

Ireland is to experience a "cold winter regime" over the St Patrick's Bank Holiday weekend, according to Met Éireann.

An orange weather alert came into effect on Saturday evening at 8pm as the country is set for 'heavy snow showers' and 'significant wind chill'.

A Status Yellow snow and ice warning covers the whole country for today, while a Status Orange snow and ice warning is in place for tomorrow for seven counties: Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Wexford, Wicklow, Meath and Waterford.

The warning runs until 9am on Sunday morning and Met Éireann says these counties will experience scattered heavy snow showers, leading to accumulations and drifting in places.

Forecasters have warned that Arctic temperatures of -5C - caused by an east European weather front nicknamed the 'Son of the Beast' - will dominate the festivities.

Temperatures will plunge by more than 10C from milder conditions earlier this week as many parades took place today in maximum temperatures of 1C. Overnight temperatures will plunge to as low as -5C.

Met Éireann forecaster Pat Clarke said the country will experience a "significant wind chill" over the next few days.

"Well, I'm afraid it's going to be a cold winter regime for the Bank Holiday weekend," Mr Clarke said. "

"There will be a significant wind chill. The snow will be mostly over Leinster, but there will be a dusting of snow in other areas too."

Mr Clarke said accumulations of snow later on Saturday was likely, and temperatures not expected to rise about three degrees in the east.

"There will be frost, snow and ice overnight," he continued.

"These will be heaviest and most frequent over east Leinster.

"And it will feel even colder because of the east-northeasterly winds.

"Sunday will be a cold and wintry day, with heaviest and most frequent snow over Leinster and east Munster."

Mr Clarke said that Sunday night is set to be "cold and frosty" with temperatures dipping to -2 and -3 degrees Celsius.

It will also be frosty on Monday night, but it is set to become less cold and more unsettled with rain developing on Tuesday. 

The Road Safety Authority are advising all road users to take extra care over the weekend.

They've asked road users to check local weather and traffic reports before making journeys in affected areas.

They have asked people to heed the advice of gardaí in relation to travel arrangements, and advised people to remove all snow from vehicles before travelling.

Similarly, the Met Office in the UK issued an amber weather warning due to heavy snow - and a number of flights from Dublin to London on Saturday were cancelled.

The front will bring icy winds from Scandinavia as well as the risk of snow showers, heavy frost and black ice. Met Éireann warned that with biting winds from the east it will feel far colder than it actually is for the next three or four days.


More than 70 flights to or from Heathrow Airport on Saturday, including an Aer Lingus flight from Dublin, were cancelled ahead of the expected blast of snow and ice hitting the UK.

According to the Aer Lingus website, the 15.20 flight on Saturday, EI 172, has been cancelled due to forecasted snow.

An Aer Lingus flight from Heathrow Airport to Dublin, at 5.45pm on Saturday, has also been cancelled due to the forecast.

And a flight from Cork Airport to Heathrow departing at 16.00 has also been cancelled.

And the return from Heathrow to Cork, at 18.05 on Saturday, has also been cancelled.

The CityJet service from Dublin to London City Airport at 7.35am on Saturday is also cancelled.

A British Airways flight from Dublin to Heathrow at 14.25 on Saturday is also cancelled.

Most of the flight cancellations were on short-haul routes, although British Airways services to New York and Chicago were among those affected.

A spokesman for the carrier said: "Poor weather conditions are forecast across parts of the UK across the weekend, so we have merged a small number of flights travelling to or from Heathrow Airport.

"During cold weather conditions aircraft have to be de-iced prior to departure to ensure that they are safe and additional measures are taken to ensure the safety of our operation is maintained at all times."

BA passengers due to fly to or from Heathrow, Gatwick or London City this weekend are able to re-book on any flight up to Wednesday free of charge.

Lufthansa, TAP Air Portugal and KLM were among the other airlines with Heathrow flights cancelled.

A spokeswoman for the airport said: "While this weekend's weather may result in minor delays and some airlines consolidating flights, significant disruption at Heathrow is not currently expected.

"We are working closely with our on-site Met Office to monitor the further snowfall expected throughout the weekend.

"As always, we advise passengers to check their flight status with their airline before coming to the airport."

Advice to road-users from Road Safety Authority:

  • Road users are asked to check local weather and traffic reports before making journeys
  • Remove all snow from your vehicle before commencing your journey
  • Clear windows and mirrors before you set out, use a screen scraper and de-icer
  • Do not use hot water on the windscreen as it can crack the glass
  • In snow and icy conditions slow down, use all controls delicately and leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front
  • Do not drive on the tail-lights of the vehicle in front (Target Fixing)
  • Use dipped headlights at all times, and fog lights in heavy snow to ensure you are seen by other motorists
  • Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and allow extra space

Irish Independent

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