By ELAINE EDWARDS
Amid grim news on almost every front, it appears parts of Ireland are also experiencing the coldest winter in 18 years.
Met Éireann said today that while there was nothing unusual about the current bout of sleet, snow and general wintry weather in February, it was indeed the coldest winter in the capital since 1991.
Meteorologist Gerry Murphy told The Irish Times that the main feature of the weather in recent days was cold air from Siberia, resulting in many heavy snowfalls in Britain and in the east of Ireland.
“In the next couple of days it will come from the north, which will keep conditions very cold but the wintry showers will be mainly in the west and north of the country,” he said.
Mr Murphy said February was still part of the winter season in meteorological terms. He said the Casement Aerodrome weather station had recorded its coldest December and January since 1991 and the coldest December and January since 1997 had been recorded at weather stations in Cork Airport and Birr Co Offaly.
“This winter we have had quite a few nights with sharp frost and it’s been a while since the Dublin region has had such significant falls of snow. It’s unusual in that sense, but on the other hand it’s winter weather.”
Today, parts of the country are experiencing wintry showers of sleet and snow.
“The places that are getting most of them are Donegal and Mayo in the north and west, and then east Ulster, east Antrim and right down the east coast and in as far as parts of Kildare, Tipperary and Waterford,” Mr Murphy said.
In contrast, west Munster and a good part of Connacht are “dry and bright with lovely sunshine”.
Mr Murphy said temperatures will continue very cold today and over the next few days, rising no higher than between 3 and 6 degrees in general.
Showers will continue tonight in the north west and the north, but should gradually clear away from the east and south east.
“They will be fairly slow to clear, but they should clear from the Dublin region some time during the afternoon. And then from places like Wexford this evening or early tonight.”
Tonight, tomorrow night and Saturday night will be very cold with a sharp, severe frost and it will also be very cold during the day, said the forecaster.
Further wintry showers should be expected tomorrow, mainly in the northern half of Ulster and the northern half of Connacht.
Dublin and a good part of Leinster and Munster should be dry and bright tomorrow, apart perhaps from “one or two rogue showers”, said Mr Murphy. Saturday will bring more of the same.