Tuesday coldest day ever recorded in Ireland

WEATHER RECORDS: THIS DECEMBER has been the coldest on record, with air temperatures over the first 22 days of the month falling…

WEATHER RECORDS:THIS DECEMBER has been the coldest on record, with air temperatures over the first 22 days of the month falling 5 to 7 degrees below the mean average, Met Éireann has said.

Head forecaster Gerald Fleming said average daily maximum temperatures of between 2 and 5 degrees and nightly minimum temperatures of -4 to -1 degrees had been recorded at weather stations across Ireland this month.

“At all our stations thus far it has been the coldest December on record,” Mr Fleming said. “Those records in some cases go back to the mid-1850s.”

Speaking at a meeting of the Government’s Severe Weather Co-ordination Committee yesterday, Mr Fleming said a daily maximum temperature of -9.4 degrees was recorded at Ballyhaise, Co Cavan on Tuesday.

“That’s the lowest daily maximum ever recorded in Ireland, which makes it the coldest day ever recorded in Ireland.”

Committee chairman Sean Hogan said local authorities were receiving an increasing number of reports of problems with water supply. “This is as a result of the ground freezing down to the level of individual water supply pipes and appears to be a particular problem where there is now snow to act as a blanket of insulation,” he said. Mr Hogan said local authorities would be carrying out repairs and operating standpipes in areas where this was proving a significant problem.

He said local and national authorities were also working to clear roads to ensure people could travel home and businesses could function in the run-up to Christmas. He said the focus of this work was on motorways and primary routes which accounted for up to 80 per cent of traffic.

Insp John Ferris of the Garda press office told the meeting that motorists should be cautious when moving from primary routes on to secondary roads.

He said secondary routes were passable in most areas but should be approached “with great care” as they had not been treated to the same degree.

Insp Ferris said motorists should travel with extra caution and advised them to pre-plan their journey, allow adequate time and check ahead to see what conditions were like at their destination.

Mr Fleming told the meeting that it would be dry through the next two days but that it would remain exceptionally cold until tomorrow night.

He said temperatures would begin to rise and a thaw should kick in thereafter but this was likely to be a slow process.

Mr Fleming said the improved weather could cause a deterioration in road conditions with water developing on top of ice and refreezing at night time.

Steven Carroll

Steven Carroll

Steven Carroll is an Assistant News Editor with The Irish Times