Get out the snow shovel: ‘Beast from the east’ on its way

Deep freeze looms as Ireland to experience coldest temperatures since December 2010

A weather system nicknamed as the “beast from the east” is heading our way, bringing with it freezing temperatures and the likelihood of heavy snow. File photograph: Getty Images

A weather system nicknamed as the “beast from the east” is heading our way, bringing with it freezing temperatures and the likelihood of heavy snow. File photograph: Getty Images

 

Ireland is heading for its coldest snap since the snows of December 2010 brought the country to a halt.

The weather system nicknamed as the “beast from the east” is heading our way, bringing with it freezing temperatures and the likelihood of heavy snow.

Cold air from northern Russia is set to descend over the whole of northern Europe next week.

The weekend will be chilly but not out of kilter with the weather so far during February, which has been unseasonably cold.

Temperatures will start to plummet from Sunday night and fall by an average of a degree a day.

By Wednesday next, day-time temperatures in Dublin will hover around freezing.

‘Won’t just be flurries’

Met Éireann forecaster John Eagleton said there is a strong possibility of snowfall, and if that happens, it will stay on the ground. “From Tuesday the east coast is going to be vulnerable. It could be a big snow. It won’t just be flurries,” he said.

“The wind is coming from the east and when it comes from the east, it tends to stick.”

Night time temperatures will fall to minus 3 degrees on Tuesday, minus 4 on Wednesday night, but then to minus 7 or minus 8 on Thursday and Friday night.

The long-term forecast also indicates the freezing weather will still be around next weekend.

“If we get showers at that temperature, there will be snow,” Mr Eagleton explained.

“ We could be looking at a few centimetres of snow. We have not reached a conclusion yet. It looks like it will be the coldest snap we have had since 2010. Get the shovel out.”

Polar vortex

Forecasters in the UK and elsewhere say the cold snap next week will be caused by what is known as a “sudden stratospheric warming” in the polar vortex.

The polar vortex is a current of air 50km above the North Pole. It keeps in place the jet stream which drives the relatively mild winters that Ireland and Britain experience as it funnels in mild, wet weather from the Atlantic.

Meteorologists are now anticipating a weakening of the polar vortex, which will in turn bring in cold air from Siberia across western Europe next week.

The vortex is causing cold air to descend across Europe, and warm air across the continental United States.

The east coast of the US is experiencing record February temperatures, with highs of 26 degrees in Washington and New York.