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Winter is coming: Is the UK and Ireland heading for the longest winter in 50 years?

Published 13/10/2015

Ulster with her winter coat of snow, the scene on the Glen Road, Belfast, as motorists drive with care. (28/11/1969)
Ulster with her winter coat of snow, the scene on the Glen Road, Belfast, as motorists drive with care. (28/11/1969)
Theres more ways than one to take advantage of the snowy slopes, as these youngsters at Helens Bay golf club show, with their variety of descents, some prefer a solo effort, some two up, and even, at times as many as four. (16/02/1969)
Snow Scenes. 1950's/60's. Shane's Hill. (08/03/1965)
Snow Scenes. 1950's/60's. (13/02/1963)
Not quite up to the dimensions of the Olympic ski jump, but this small hillock provided members of the Ulster Ski Club with a chance of a jump, during their session on the Cave Hill slopes. (16/02/1969)
Heavy snow in Dungannon disrupted traffic and gave parked cars a Christmas like atmosphere. (17/11/1965)
These boys were out early to take their toboggans up a hill at Stormont for a good day's fun. 16/2/1971
Enjoying the snow at Belfast Castle, which is just around the corner from their homes in Strathmore Park North, are Elaine McGuiggan (13), and her brothers Michael (11) and Roger (3), together with Brian McDonnell (12) and his brother Christopher. 24/1/1976
Toboggan races over the snowy slopes in the grounds of Belfast Castle organised by the Belfast Castle organised by the Belfast Parks Recreation Department. Here, Gerald Tolan and his friend Declan Lenny whizz down the slippery slope to win one of the heats. 27/1/1979
Looking back at their footprints in the snow as they pause before building a snowman are Ann Morrow (2) and Elaine Agnew (3) both of Parkgate Drive, Belfast. 16/2/1971
These young pupils from Stella Maris Primary School, Church Road, Greencastle, find a snowball fight an ideal way to keep warm. 5/3/1965
Children on sledges making the most of the heavy falls of snow on the slopes at Belfast Castle. 8/2/1969
Downpatrick marshes with their shallow waters provide safe sliding conditions for these youngsters taking advantage of the cold spell. In the background is Down Cathedral. 14/1/1963
Snow Scenes. 1980's. As traffic slipped and slid on dangerous roads, children from Edenbrook Primary School, Belfast, spent their lunch break having a snowball fight. (24/01/1985)
Snow Scenes. 1980's. "Away we go!" say sisters, Lisa (8) and Katie Hewitt (4), of Wood Lane Ends, Lurgan, as they enjoy a sleigh ride down the snow covered slope of a field near their home. (04/01/1984)
Ingrid Blake (8) and her friend Maeve McConnell (2), both from Innisfayle Park, Belfast, have no complaints. (17/01/1985)
The first day in November brought the first of the winter's heavy snowfall as this picture taken on the Belfast-Aldergrove road just beyond the Horseshoe Bend shows. (01/11/1967)
Snowplough in action keeping the main Londonderry-Claudy road clear, near Burntollet Bridge. (04/02/1969)
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With figures stretching away into the distance, the slope at Helens Bay Golf Club took on the appearence of a busy Alpine resort, as many young (and not so young people) took advantage of the weekends' snow for a bit of tobogganing. (16/02/1969)
Snow Scenes. 1950's/60's. Traffic manages to flow freely on Shane's Hill, between Larne and Ballymena, despite the heavy falls of snow. (07/12/1967)
Many motorists were stranded near Wheeler's Corner, Dundrod during a freak blizzard. (22/03/1965)
Cattle grazing on Shane's Hill, between Larne and Ballymena, wander the snow covered land in search of fodder. (07/12/1967)
Cars creeping along the Horseshow Road, the main road from Belfast to Aldergrove Airport. (28/12/1964)
Winter has returned to Ulster leaving several inches of hard packed snow on the Horseshoe road between Belfast and Aldergrove. Here a car moves slowily along treacherous stretch of the road. (25/03/1966)
A snowed up cottage. 13/2/1963
Snow drifts 20 feet deep at one time lay in front of the McFall homestead. 13/2/1963
Feeding ducks at Ballymena. 2/1/1961
Right turn for home - Mr. Richard Iggulden on Pink Panther and Miss Sharon Adair on Kerry head for home over the Craigantlet Hills while exercising their mounts in the snow this morning. (18/01/1985)
Laughter in the snow - Mr. David Allen with children Catherine (12) and Christopher (9), from Sharman Road, Belfast, enjoy some early morning toboganning on the slippery slopes at Barnetts Park. (18/12/1982)
Bullyseye! One younster scores a direct hit suring a snowball fight in Belfast's Ligoniel Road area. And, from the forecasts, it looks as if there will be plenty of opportunities for revenge. (15/01/1984)
The Cresta Run - Lurgan style! Showing a polythene sheet "toboggan" can be just as much fun as the real McCoy are this happy group of snow revellers on the slippery slopes at Woodlane Ends - enjoying a last fling before the thaw really sets in. (13/01/1982)
On the receiving end of a snowball fight with his friends is David McAree of Belfast. (21/03/1980)
Making the most of the snow this morning were Jamie Wilkinson (8) of Trossachs Drive, Upper Malone, Belfast, who pushed his brother Ben (6) and friend John Fitzpatrick (7) on his sledge. (25/01/1986)
Miss May Neill and Miss Nicola Aiken exercise their horses "Yogi Bear" and "Romeo" on Helen's Bay Road, Craigantlet, which was covered by about 4 inches of snow today. (11/12/1981)
The Fitzpatrick family at Mallon's Corner, near Hilltown combine forces to get the tractor out of the snow drift. (12/01/1982)
Third-year fashion design student, Anne Purcell, from Belfast, finds time for fun in the snow. (January 1984)
Getting the full enjoyment of the fresh snow fall in the Dungannon area are six-year-old Rachel Forsythe and seven-year-old Mark Sloan. The children, from Ranfurly Crescent, Dungannon are both pupils of the Howard Primary School, Moygashel. (12/02/1988)
Treading on thin ice, but enjoying every minute of it, are Michael and Mark McKinley, Jonathan Smith, David, Michael and Dierdre Lynch and Gary Nellis, taking advantage of the snow in Farmley Crescent, Glengormley. (04/01/1984)
There's no business like snow business... brothers Timonthy (9) and Simon Taylor (5), from Knockbreda Park, Belfast, take full advantage of their last day of the school holidays to have fun in the first snowfall of the winter at Barnett's Park, Belfast. (03/01/1984)
Four-year-olds Jill Davidson and Susan McNair of Castlereagh Road, Belfast, armed with shovels help clear the snow from the footpath outside their homes. (16/02/1971)
The early morning fall of snow on Friday made a pretty winter scene on the Larne-Ballymena road. But it caused trouble for motorists. However, snow ploughs were out to clear the roads. (29/01/1976)
Six-year-old Gillian Thorpe of Rushfield, Helen's Bay, holds on tight to her sleigh as she is pulled up the hill by sister Susan (7) and friend Jeremy Schofield (10) as they play in the snow near their home. (05/01/1970)
Twelve-year-old Paul Jefferson (on top) and thirteen-year-old Michael Moreland both from Holywood, Co. Down, enjoy themselves sleighing on the slopes of Holywood Golf club. (09/12/1967)
An army of workmen went out early clearing the snow in Belfast's city centre, before the first of the office workers arrived. 6/2/1963
A familiar scene in Massereene Park, Antrim, as it is transformed by the first snow of winter. 8/12/1966
A U.T.A. bus which was abandoned in deep snow-drifts on the main Larne-Ballymena road at Shane's Hill. 30/11/1965
This winter landscape at Ballysillan Park, Belfast, shows how an every-day scene is given a touch of delicate filigree when bare branches are laced with snow. 12/1/1959
Snowman and Snowmouse appeared overnight at Kensington Gardens West. Here is Rosemary Eakins stroking the snowmouse's tail while Brian Martin moulds his ear and Allyson Brown puts a rakish angle to the snowman's hat. 11/12/1967
One car which did not make it up a steep hill on the outskirts of Belfast and like many others in the province had to be abandoned in the blizzard. 7/2/1969
These cars found the Belfast-Aldergrove road very tricky as they manoeuvred slowly along on the hard packed snow. 16/2/1966
Allister Cosby (left) and Julian Parker, both aged nine, of Downview Park, West Belfast, were out early enjoying the snow. 3/12/1966
Pupils from Stella Maris Primary School, Church Road, Greencastle, enjoying rolling a giant snowball in the school playground. 5/3/1965
Saturday afternoon shoppers looking on as they pass children enjoying a slide on the pavement at the junction of Upper Library Street and Peter's Hill, Belfast. 9/12/1967
A scene of great activity on the Cavehill slopes by Floral Hall, where tobogganers and skiers were out in force on a Sunday afternoon. 16/2/1969
With no worries about outlook of further snow three-year old Kenneth Moore, Greenacres, Ballyutoag, Ligoniel, admires his giant snowman in the garden of his home. 21/1/1965
Mr Thomas Thompson of Skeagh, near Glenarm, recieving a bag of food supplies from Sergeant Isaac Jardine, Glenarm RUC, after Mr Thompson and his wife had been cut off by snowdrifts for over a week. 13/2/19663
Caroline Parsons with horse. (13/01/1977)
Children from Carryduff near Belfast enjoy their first snowball fight of the winter. (25/11/1978)
Makes you shiver just to look at it. Royal Avenue - barely recognisable in the blizzard. (31/01/1972)
It's a winter wonderland at the Antrim Boat club where the Sixmilewater flows into Lough Neagh. The low afternoon sun filtering through the trees on the snow covered banks make a pictureesque scene. (06/01/1970)
Footprints in the snow as girls make their way cautiously across the grounds of the College of Art and Design during to-day's snowfall in Belfast. (11/01/1977)

There are fears that the UK and Ireland could be heading for a very long winter after the early arrival of migratory birds from Siberia.

A 300-strong flock of Bewick swans migrate 2,500 miles from Arctic Russia to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire each year and their arrival is used as a sign to say that winter has arrived.

It is the earliest arrival of the birds since 1963 and their presence has led many to believe that western Europe is in store for a long, harsh winter.

The first of the birds began arriving on Monday, 25 days ahead of this time last year.

Bewick swans are red-listed in Ireland due to a severe decline in the number of the birds wintering in Ireland.

Slimbridge swan expert Julia Newth told the Daily Telegraph: "Apparently there's a Russian saying that 'the swan brings snow on its bill', because they tend to move just ahead of the cold weather.

"Of course, we can't infer much from the arrival of a single swan but it's certainly exciting this bird has arrived so early.

"It's only a year old and, because it's made it all the way here on its own, we assume that it must have come to Slimbridge last year as a cygnet with its parents.

"We record all the Bewick's swans that come to Slimbridge each winter by their unique bill pattern as part of our study and give them a name.

"This one needed a name, so we've called him Record Breaker."

Enough snow today in Belfast to make a lifesize horse! Submitted by Laura
Enough snow today in Belfast to make a lifesize horse! Submitted by Laura
The weather is a popular topic to talk about in Northern Ireland
Here is a picture of the snow dragon/ dinosaur my wife Sarah and I built on Thursday 29th January outside the in law’s home in Carryduff, Belfast. Submitted by Ruiseal McKimm
Myself and two friends took advantage of the recent snowfall and went for a hike in the Mourne Mountains. It was a stunning landscape. I shot this image as we were coming off Pierce's Castle 495m. I have aptly named it 'Frozen Landscape'. - David J Campbell. Twitter handle: @Photodave109
To all the sceptics, this is 100% not photoshopped. My boyfriend and I built it dodging cat poo in my garden the entire time. Submitted by Emma Hamill
A heavy snowfall in Mallusk, Co Antrim. Pic William Irvine. 02/03/2015
A winter wonderland in Carryduff, Co Down. Pic: Stevie Rea. 02/03/2015
A picture of my two very close friends on the last ascent to the summit of Slieve Donard on Saturday 31st January 2015. After battling through 80mph winds, sub zero temperatures and two severe snow blizzards, they made it! It was an amazing moment, and this picture just captures the majesty of it all. - Timothy Fergusson
Remarkable winter scenes on Benbradagh Mountain
Dundrod Co Antrim, submitted by Paul McFarland, Dromore.
Davagh forest nighttime snow mountain bike ride. Submitted by Michael Regan. Jan 29 2015
Olaf from Frozen lives again. Pic by Michelle White.
Images from Dromore Co Down, submitted by Paul McFarland, Dromore
Image of snow in Mayfield area of Glengormely. Submitted by Santhosh John. Jan 2015
Hillsborough Parish Church and Snow Topped Lisburn. Submitted by Tommy Blake. Jan 2015
Snow clings to the trees on the Cochranstown Road near Lisburn
A low winter sun peers over the horizon at Dundrod yesterday morning
A squirrel hunts for food in gardens in west Belfast
Dog-walkers in Stormont Estate yesterday
A horse braves the sleet and snow in Belfast
Hector, a Spanish Water Dog, plays in the snow
The McNeill family - twins Cathal and Caolan (3) and big sister Aoife (6) enjoy a day off school in Annaclone, Co Down. Pic: Paula McNeill (29/01/2015)
The rural beauty of Annaclone, Co Down this morning. Pic: Paula McNeill (29/01/2015)
Snow sun over Annaclone Co Down this morning. Pic: Paula McNeill (29/01/2015)
Thomas and Evie put their day off school to good use. Katesbridge, Co Down. Pic. Stepen Brown (29/01/2015)
Five-year-old Jasmine with her Olaf snowman in Belfast. Pic Maggie Parker (29/01/2015)
A touch of snow on the Coastal Path, Bangor. Pic Arlette Maginness (29/01/2015)
Shoppers and city workers get caught in the snow which fell in Belfast yesterday
Four-year-old Anna from Carryduff enjoying an afternoon in the snow. Pic. Claire Scarborough (28/01/2015)
Shoppers and city workers get caught in the snow which fell in Belfast yesterday
Shoppers and city workers get caught in the snow which fell in Belfast yesterday
Shoppers and city workers get caught in the snow which fell in Belfast yesterday
Portrush
Glengormley
Snow on the A1 dual carriageway near Newry, as an orange weather alert is announced in Northern Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 28, 2015. A cold weather front is to sweep in with temperatures expected to drop as much as 10C to below zero overnight into Thursday. See PA story WEATHER Cold. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Sheep in the snow in the Glens of Antrim, as an orange weather alert is announced in Northern Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 28, 2015. A cold weather front is to sweep in with temperatures expected to drop as much as 10C to below zero overnight into Thursday. See PA story WEATHER Cold. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Snow in the Glens of Antrim, as an orange weather alert is announced in Northern Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 28, 2015. A cold weather front is to sweep in with temperatures expected to drop as much as 10C to below zero overnight into Thursday. See PA story WEATHER Cold. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Little 16-month-old Clara has fun as she gets her first glimpse of the snow and takes her first steps in the winter wonderland in Limavady. Pic. Hannah McCausland 13/01/2015
Spring is just around the corner. Lambeg Pic: George Wills 25/01/2015
A snowy scene taken through a bus window while travelling home to Co. Tyrone. 18/01/2015 Pic. Feldore McHugh
Slemish looking cold and grey in Broughshane. Pic. Maureen Ballantine 16/01/2015
Motorists make their way through snowfall in Gortin near Omagh, as many parts of the UK were on snow alert with wintry showers threatening to disrupt travel. Niall Carson/PA Wire.
Sheep and a grouse in fields in Drumbo
A blanket of snow in Glenarm Co Antrim. Pic Matthew Morrow (28/01/2015)
The magical reflections of the mallards in the sunshine. Oxford Island Craigavon. Pic Noeni Bryars 22/01/2015
The magical reflections of the mallards in the sunshine. Oxford Island Craigavon. Pic Noeni Bryars 22/01/2015
Aoife beside her first ever snowman in Ballyronan, Co Derry. Pic. Caroline Glendinning 14/01/15
A blanket of snow covers Rathfriland. January 2015
A low sun rises over a gate in the Moneyrea countryside
Mischievous cocker spaniel Finn steals snowman's carrot in Coleraine Pic. Karen Garvin 14/01/2015
‘Keeper’ the German shepherd plays in the snow in Ballycastle yesterday. The adverse weather conditions, however, brought misery to many
A solitary figure is framed by the famous trees of the Dark Hedges. January 15. 2015
A woman throws a ball for her springer spaniel on the snowy west strand at Portrush
Brothers Brenn (10) and Aodan (7) Doherty sledge along Creggan Hill to the Model Primary School in Derry
Snowfall causes disruption in the village of Claudy
A stunning sky over a blanket of snow in Five Mile Straight, Maghera, Derry. Pic. Hilary McGrath 14/01/2015
A lone sheep surrounded by snow at a farm near Claudy, Derry. Pic. Fiona-Jane Garrett 14/01/2015
Proudly showing off their snowmen as children enjoy the snowfall in Northern Ireland. Pic. Michelle Wilmont 14/01/2015
A thick blanket of snow lies in Kildoag, Londonderry. Pic Astrid Coyle 14/01/2015
A good day's work in the snow - proudly showing their happy snowman. Pic Michelle Wilmont 14/01/2015
Snowball fights in the snow as young and old enjoy the wintry spell in Northern Ireland pic. Michelle Wilmont 14/01/2015
A blanket of snow makes a dramatic view over Loughbrickland Lake. Pic Lisa Young 13/01/2015
Dramatic colours as winter takes over Loughbrickland Lake Co Down. 13/01/2015 Pic. Lisa Young
Beautiful wintry image of Loughbrickland Lake Co Down. Pic. Lisa Young 13/01/2015
Zoe Adair and Victoria Poole enjoying the snowy spell in Northern Ireland. Pic. Victoria Poole. 13/01/2015
A blanket of snow over Dungiven. Pic. Natasha Kealey. 13/01/2015
Traffic slowed down due to snow on the Glendermot road Londonderry. Pic. Marcus Bye 13/01/2015
Heavy snow cover in Strabane. Pic. John Blair 13/01/2015
A beautiful snowy landscape in Strabane. Pic. John Blair 13/01/2015
A bed of snow glimmers under the sunshine in Strabane. Pic. John Blair 13/01/2015
Snow lying in Inishowen, Co Donegal. Pic. Trygve de Brun 13/01/2015
Florencecourt, CO Fermanagh Susan Elliott 13012015.
A wintry morning in Ballymoney. Pic. Emma McFaul 13/01/2015
A snowy morning in Park Village Co Derry. Pic.Fiona Jane Garrett 13/01/2015
A dark winter morning in Belleek, Co Fermanagh. Pic. Katriona Cox 13/01/2015
Blanket of snow outside Claudy. Pic Stacey Witherow 13/01/2015
A scattering of snow in Fivemiletown. Pic. Julie Brownlee 13/01/2015
Snow fall in Aghadowey. Pic. Lesley Richard Hunter 13/01/2015
Lettershandoney snow fall. Pic. Padraig Lynch 13/01/2015
Moonlit snow and stars over derelict house on Glenshane Pass. Photo by Martin McKenna.
Walkers on Divis Mountain, Belfast
In England, a jay skips through the snow in Kielder Forest
A donkey on Divis Mountain, Belfast
Traffic on the Glenshane Pass in Co Londonderry, as snow is replaced with rain and high winds across the province.
Sheep brave the overnight snowfall in Co Derry, Feb 2014. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
Taken on Portstewart Strand,11/2/14. Some hardy surfers undeterred by a snowstorm. Submitted by Evelyn McCullough
Frosty - Snowfall in Northern Ireland Feb 2014. Picture submitted by Stevie Burns
Snow in Maghera, Co Derry with bad weather hitting across Northern Ireland. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Snowfall in Coleraine - a creative eye. Submitted by Deanna Partridge Feb 2014
Snow at Creative Gardens Galgorm Castle. Feb 2014. Submitted by Philip Gass.
The scene in Derry's Brooke Park as snow hits the North West. Photo Lorcan Doherty / pressye.com
Snow in Limavady. By @RichardCraig7
The scene in Derry's Brooke Park as snow hits the North West. Photo Lorcan Doherty / pressye.com
Snow in the Aghanloo area, just outside Limavady. By @RVE_LTD
The scene in Derry's Brooke Park as snow hits the North West. Photo Lorcan Doherty / pressye.com
Heavy snow at Hillfarm House Deer Sanctuary, Derry. By @kevinharkin3
The scene in Derry's Brooke Park as snow hits the North West. Photo Lorcan Doherty / pressye.com
Flashback to snowy 2013: Spelga Dam in the Mournes. Submitted on behalf of Lynette Cooke.
after the snow
Gallery of Belfast Telegraph readers' snow pictures Garden fox - Carrowreagh, Dundonald submitted by Carol Cinnamond March 22 2013
House of Stephen Bryden on the Cairn Road outside Carrickfergus. Image sent in by Gerry Millar
Image of a car between a snow bank. Image supplied by Paul Connolly
Basil McCrea travelling through Dromara snowfields. Image supplied by Jamie Mackrell
Basil McCrea with residents in Annahilt. Image supplied by Jamie Mackrell
Gallery of Belfast Telegraph readers' snow pictures Castle Gardens, Lisburn. By Tom Porter
Beautiful trees on divis mountains. By Pauline
A Winter Sun In Lisburn. By Tom Porter

El Niño is also underway in the tropical Pacific, which has further fuelled speculation that Europe is in for a longer and colder winter than usual.

Met Eireann are expecting ground frost in places throughout this week as a spell of settled weather continues. It should be dry until the weekend but they are warning of fog and frost developing overnight.

A polar continental air mass will make it feel very chilly all week.

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