Ireland’s weather is set to return to colder temperatures, as a yellow warning for snow and ice has come into effect for the entire country.
Met Éireann has said there will be scattered showers of hail, sleet and snow, and icy stretches, from 4pm on Thursday until 11am on Friday, which will lead to "hazardous travelling conditions in some parts".
“Showers will be most widespread in the west and north of the country where some accumulations are likely. Isolated thunderstorms will occur also,” the weather warning states.
Aoife Kealy, a forecaster with Met Éireann, said as Thursday progresses, temperatures will gradually drop and the showers will turn to more wintry precipitation.
“It will be quite chilly throughout Thursday, with temperatures getting gradually colder,”she said.
“Lowest temperatures will be between -1 and +3 degrees overnight.”
Snow is most likely in Connacht, Ulster and on higher ground, though there is likely to be sleet, ice and a dusting of snow in other parts of the country.
The west and northwest of the country is expected to receive at least 1cm of snow, with up to 3cm in some places. Donegal mountains could see up to 8cm.
“The hail or sleet will be slow enough to clear. Friday morning will be a similar situation,” Ms Kealy added.
The weather will warm later on Friday, and the precipitation will return to rain, which could result in localised flooding in some parts of the country.
It will continue to be unsettled throughout the weekend, with rain or showers and strong winds at times.
The weather will become milder and more settled early next week.
Separately, the national forecaster published its 2021 weather summary on Thursday, which found there were above average temperatures and sunshine, and below average rainfall last year.
All mean annual air temperatures across the country were above their long-term average (LTA).
The year’s highest temperature was reported at Mount Dillon, Co Roscommon on July 21st, with a temperature of 30.8 degrees, its highest max temperature since records began 10 years ago.
The year's lowest air temperature was recorded on Jan 9th at both Mullingar, Co Westmeath and Dunsany, Co Meath with -8.2 degrees.
Heatwaves were reported at 14 stations between July 16th and 25th, with six stations reporting heatwaves lasting 10 consecutive days.
Overall, 2021’s average shaded air temperature in Ireland is provisionally 10.51 degrees. which is 0.96 degrees above the 1961-1990 LTA.
Annual rainfall values were also largely down on their averages, ranging from 84 per cent at Gurteen, Co Tipperary to 109 per cent at Roche's Point, Co Cork.
Meanwhile, sunshines total were above average, with the highest annual sunshine total recorded at Johnstown Castle, Co Wexford with 1586.7 hours.
Storm Barra brought the strongest winds of the year on December 7th, during which "violent storm force 11" winds were recorded.
Both the year’s highest gust and 10-minute mean wind speed were reported on the during this storm event.
The highest gust was 73 knots (135 km/h) reported at Sherkin Island, Co Cork while the year's highest 10-minute mean wind speed was 56 knots (103 km/h) at Mace Head, Co Galway.