News Weather

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Emergency services prepare for Siberian freeze, as Met Eireann warns of red alert

  • Each night will get colder with 'disruptive' weather forecast

  • Snow and severe frost will become more widespread from Tuesday

  • Met Eireann may issue red alert

  • Ireland braced for coldest weather in years

  • Status yellow warning in place

Snow at the Sally Gap
Snow at the Sally Gap

Alan O'Keeffe and Kyle Ewlad

Winds sweeping across Siberia from the North Pole will bring snow and very cold temperatures in the coming week.

Met Eireann has issued a Status Yellow weather warning, which is in place from today until next Friday, March 2.

The national forecaster warned that severe frost and snow showers along eastern and northern coasts tomorrow night would be accompanied by lows of -2°C to -4°C. Temperatures will fall even lower later in the week.

As it gets colder and colder, snow and severe frost will become more widespread from Tuesday.

By Thursday, it is likely to be "exceptionally cold", and we could be facing the coldest weather in several years.

Met Eireann's Status Yellow warning states it will be "exceptionally cold and disruptive snow showers are expected from Tuesday onwards, particularly in the east and southeast".

Met Eireann's Evelyn Cusack said continental air originating at the North Pole "will come sweeping down across Russia and then westwards over continental Europe".

The front will stall over Ireland and the UK for almost a week and postpone milder spring weather conditions until early March.

The dry polar air mass will gather moisture when crossing the North Sea and the Irish Sea causing snow and sleet showers on the East Coast that penetrate further inland, she said.

As a meteorologist, she certainly did not agree with commentators in the UK labelling the approaching air mass from Siberia as 'the Beast from the East', she said.

However, she did say: "It's going to be bitterly cold with significant wind chill for man and beast."

Meanwhile, forecaster Joanna Donnelly warned that a red level warning could be issued next week.

"Watch out for the weather warnings this week, they could be up to orange or even possibly a red level warning at times depending on the nature of showers that come.

“We are expecting some disruption due to the accumulation of the snow, of showers coming in off the Irish sea – mostly affecting eastern and south-eastern coasts but at times drifting further inland too.”

Harsh winter conditions will coincide with the lambing season.

Sean Dennehy, of the Irish Farmers' Association sheep committee, said: "Around two-and-a-half million ewes will be lambing on 30,000 farms over the coming weeks. A significant wind chill will be very unwelcome."

A Louth County Council spokesman said gritting would take place on roads nightly.

Fingal County Council has activated its Severe Weather Alert Team and its crisis management team is "actively monitoring the situation".

"We will be posting updates as required through our usual communication channels including the Fingal Alerts App, our website, fingal.ie, and our Twitter and Facebook accounts," the spokesman added.

Dublin City Council's Roads Divisions are on standby to implement the city's Winter Maintenance Plan covering severe snow and ice events on the road network.

Engineers are monitoring weather forecast data from Met Eireann and data from regional weather stations.

Road-gritting crews are also on standby to salt 300km of street network covering the national, regional and bus and commuter routes.

How the cold snap will unfold:

 

From Tuesday onwards, forecasts predict disruptive snow showers, particularly in the east and southeast, with temperatures falling between -3 and -7 overnight. Snow showers during the evening and overnight along with “severe frost” also be expected.

By Wednesday, the weather is projected to be “extremely cold” with sunny spells and snow showers. The eastern half of the country is expected to receive the heaviest and most frequent snow showers, but temperatures are predicted to remain below freezing in most parts of the country with frost and ice throughout the day.

Maximum temperatures Wednesday will range from -1 to +1 degrees in strong, easterly winds, and dropping to -3 and -7 overnight paired with severe frost formation.

“Bitterly cold” weather and morning scattered snow showers are expected on Thursday, followed by a more persistent spell of snow  across the south of the country during the afternoon. These snow showers are expected to extend northwards later in the day, with outbreaks of sleet and snow across the entire country overnight.

Friday’s conditions remain uncertain, but the national forecaster predicts more cold temperatures paired with outbreaks of rain, sleet and snow.

Sunday Independent

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