Cold snap to continue but white Easter unlikely

Unseasonably cold spell is result of complex weather patterns, Met Éireann says

As Dubliners and others along the east coast shivered in intermittent snow showers, Met Éireann said the likelihood was for continuing very cold conditions but not widespread snow. Photograph: Dave Meehan

As Dubliners and others along the east coast shivered in intermittent snow showers, Met Éireann said the likelihood was for continuing very cold conditions but not widespread snow. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Wed, Mar 27, 2013, 17:56

The Air Corps prepared to take part in mercy missions dropping fodder to hill farms in Northern Ireland on Wednesday, but Met Éireann said there was little chance of a white Easter.

As Dubliners and others along the east coast shivered in intermittent snow showers, Met Éireann said the likelihood was for continuing very cold conditions but not widespread snow.

In Northern Ireland, where the heaviest falls of snow have been experienced, farmers expressed grave concern for sheep and lambs on hillsides made inaccessible due to deep drifts of snow.

The Air Corps said an AugustaWestland AW139 helicopter stationed at Baldonnel, Co Dublin, was ready to assist in an operation to bring fodder to stricken farms in Northern Ireland. This followed a preliminary request from Northern Ireland Minister for Agriculture Michelle O'Neill to her counterpart in the Republic Simon Coveney yesterday.

Much of the snow in low-lying areas is expected to melt on Thursday morning and while some flurries could not be ruled out, particularly on the east coast, the outlook was for more cold and dry weather into the weekend.

Met Éireann said it was not possible to say definitively why the cold air mass was staying an unseasonably long time over Ireland, particularly when compared with temperatures of about 20° last Easter.

Harm Luijkx of Met Éireann said there was currently a high pressure area over Scandinavia, with a low pressure area to the southwest of Ireland, allowing an easterly wind to blow in from Siberia.

He said this was a result of the many complex weather patterns that could form. It was not linked to global climate change. It was he said “unusual but not unheard of”.

Thursday night is expected to be dry but very cold with a widespread sharp frost. Friday is expected to be bright with variable cloud and some sunny spells, but apart from a few showers in the southwest and Munster the day will be dry, Met Éireann said.

As the southwest winds strengthen in coming days there may be some rain showers in the southwest on Saturday and Sunday. Daytime temperatures may recover a little, rising to about 8°, but the nights will be very cold with sharp frost.

Bad weather slowed turnout in the Meath East byelection with about 11 per cent of the electorate having voted by late Wednesday afternoon.

AA Roadwatch warned motorists to take additional care on the roads, particularly in the east and midlands. Dublin Bus said a number of its routes in the hinterland of the Dublin mountains might be have to be curtailed. Intending passengers are advised to consult public transport websites.