Sleet and snow are expected to return for St Patrick’s Day with plummeting temperatures making for a freezing bank holiday weekend.
A cold easterly wind will settle over the country on St Patrick’s Day with day time temperatures for the parades of just 3 to 6 degrees, but it will feel even colder than that.
It is forecast to be just 3 degrees in Dublin for the parade, one of the coldest St Patrick’s Day in recent years, with sleet and snow falling after dark.
The miserable run of bad weather following on from the big freeze at the start of the month continues with a status yellow wind and rain warning in place across the country on Wednesday and Thursday. Wind speeds are forecast to gust up to 90 to 100 km/h in places across Leinster.
Rainfall warnings are in place for Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Wexford, Wicklow, Waterford, Tipperary, Limerick, Cork and Kerry with accumulations expected of up to 50mms (two inches) on higher ground and localised flooding expected.
There will be a brief respite on Friday before more bad weather sets in for the weekend.
After a cold St Patrick’s Day, temperatures will fall to below zero on St Patrick’s night with the possibility of snow in parts of Leinster and icy surfaces.
The cold weather continues on Sunday with the possibility of snow showers in the east and temperatures falling at night to minus-four.
The bank holiday Monday looks like it is not going to be much better, with more flurries of snow and highs of just 7 degrees. It will be cold, frosty and icy on Monday night.
The unseasonably cold weather is being caused by a high pressure area from Scandinavia.
A Met Éireann spokeswoman advised that parade-goers should wrap up warm.
“It will be breezy with easterly winds. There will be a wind chill factor. It will not be pleasant standing around watching a parade,” she said.
The spokeswoman said the bad weather does not mean the return to the “beast from the east” and that snow accumulations will be light - at most 3cms in exposed places not the snowdrifts which brought the country to a halt.
“We don’t normally get Wexford and Waterford covered in snow. That was an exceptional weather event. This is not unusual.”