Wednesday 20 February 2019

Weather: Dreaming of a white Christmas? You are out of luck

There's no sign of snow as it's just too mild and damp, says forecaster

Festive spirit: Oisin Carson (4) chooses a Christmas tree at Wicklow Way Christmas tree farm in Co Wicklow. Photo: PA
Festive spirit: Oisin Carson (4) chooses a Christmas tree at Wicklow Way Christmas tree farm in Co Wicklow. Photo: PA
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

We're dreaming of a damp, mild Christmas. Hopeful children up and down the country will be disappointed to hear that weather forecasters see no sign of snow with only nine days to go until Christmas.

In fact, the day itself is likely to be damp and mild.

While the countdown to Christmas is well under way, Met Éireann predicts there will be little chance of a white one as it's just too mild.

"So far there's no indication in our chart of snow for Christmas, as the temperatures are far too mild," said meteorologist Liz Gavin.

"The temperature today will reach 9C to 13C and on Tuesday, it will be around 5C to 12C.

"We are hovering round those temperatures over the next week and we'd have to be looking at temperatures of around 3C to get snow, so we aren't anywhere near that."

Earlier this month, Ladbrokes bookmakers predicted a white Christmas at short odds of 10/11.

But Met Éireann forecasters disagree and now see little chance of even a dusting of snow.

Fresh snow hasn't fallen on Christmas Day in Ireland since 2004.

The last prolonged period of snowfall occurred in February this year with the Beast from the East.

That cold spell lasted several days and was worsened further by Storm Emma, which triggered a Status Red weather alert and ground the country to a halt.

Freeze

Before that, a big freeze took place in November and December 2010 and there was snow in some parts of the country on Christmas Day that year.

Both episodes caused commuter chaos and led to the Defence Forces being called out.

Rather than snowfall being on the cards this festive period, it seems we could be in for a damp Christmas, as rainfall is forecast for several days.

"The forecast is unsettled but with spells of rain and showers today," Ms Gavin said.

"We continue in an unsettled period in the coming week with spells of rain crossing the country with strong winds at times.

"Really, the outlook is changeable, though there will be a continuation of rainfall.

"And we will see heavy rain and winds picking up as the week goes on.

"The heaviest of rain today will be in the west of the country and winds will be strong in the west too and then increase. Winds will be fresh to strong in most places today."

Today, gales could develop near Atlantic coasts by the afternoon and there could be rainfall into the night with a risk of spot flooding.

Rainfall will continue tomorrow and there could be some surface flooding on roads.

There is also a risk of hail and thunder near coasts tomorrow and there will be strong to gale force winds in the east in the morning.

Temperatures are expected to drop as low as 3C tomorrow night in the east and north with a patchy frost possible.

Wednesday will see a mixture of sunny spells and scattered blustery showers, with a risk of hail and thunder in Atlantic coastal areas.

Top temperatures on Thursday will be 7C to 10C with strong, gusty winds.

In more bad news for retailers after last weekend's washout thanks to Storm Deirdre, the wet and windy weather is set to continue into the final shopping weekend before Christmas. On Friday and across the weekend, rain is expected to move across Ireland from the south-west.

Meanwhile, eastern Europe has seen massive snowfalls in recent days with up to 30cm falling in Ukraine.

Irish Independent

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