Belfast Telegraph

Heavy snowfalls due as coldest days of year loom for Northern Ireland

Winter has us in its grip as temperatures plunge to -6C

By Michelle Smyth

Keep your winter woolies handy - the Arctic conditions sweeping through Northern Ireland are only going to get worse.

Forecasters have warned that the sub-zero snap holding us in its icy grip is set to last for at least another week, with the coldest days of the winter yet to come.

As temperatures were forecast to dip as low as -6°C in some parts of Northern Ireland - such as Katesbridge in Co Down - last night, another wintry blast was following closely behind today.

The Met Office issued a yellow weather warning for snow, sleet and rain to sweep in this evening. Its experts warned there could be two centimetres of snow in some places with as much as five centimetres of snow forecast for higher ground.

And Sean Penston, a Meteo Group forecaster, agreed that we look likely to wake up to a winter wonderland tomorrow.

"Weather should be fine during daylight hours but it will begin to get very cloudy in the afternoon. Night-time brings a lot of uncertainty as an area of wintry precipitation moves in from the west bringing sleet and snow. By Tuesday morning there could between two and four centimetres of snow lying in many places - more in higher areas," he said.

"Last year we experienced a mild winter and, in comparison, this year's very cold.

"Over the next few days we will experience some of the coldest days of the year."

Sean said there was uncertainty over what the weather would be like in the middle of next week.

"Due to an area of low pressure we can definitely expect more showers and wintry precipitation. Fog will also move in," he said.

While it seems we will have it bad over the next few days, spare a thought for Scotland where temperatures in highland areas were expected to dip as low as -11°C in the early hours of today. Snow and ice is also expected to hit areas in northeast England.

Age UK's charity director Caroline Abrahams warned one older person could die as a result of the cold every seven minutes. And the Public Health Agency (PHA) for Northern Ireland has urged people to look out for elderly relatives and neighbours.

"Vulnerable and elderly people can find it difficult to get out to the shops or to keep their house adequately heated during the cold weather," a spokesperson said.

"The PHA is encouraging everyone to look out for those who may be more vulnerable during severe weather and check that they are OK."

Background

With temperatures dipping as low as -6° in some places last night, we are firmly in the grip of a prolonged cold snap.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for snow, sleet and rain for Northern Ireland and we can expect between two and five centimetres of snow between tonight and tomorrow morning. The Met Office warning for ice and snow covers all six counties.

The Public Health Agency has issued advice for older and vulnerable people including wearing multi-layers.

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