Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland braced for a cold Easter as temperatures set to plummet

By Stewart Robson

It may almost be April, but if you thought the cold weather was over, then think again.

An Easter chill is predicted to sweep across Northern Ireland next week.

Dubbed as the Siberian hamster, the cold snap is expected to hit on Wednesday, bringing freezing temperatures nearly a month after the Beast from the East hit the country.

Many roads and amenities were closed during the weather that brought much of the country to a standstill.

A forecast for the middle of April shows a similar weather front that could bring more extreme conditions.

This month has seen one of the coldest starts to spring in recent history with mild days coming few and far between.

Derrylin in Co Fermanagh suffered temperatures as low as -7C during the early part of this month.

Now, with the harsh weather set to continue, local farmers will again be wary of the potential impact on their land and animals, mindful that something similar happened five years ago during late March.

Reinout van der Boorn from forecast organisation Meteogroup said: "A cold easterly flow is stretching from Scandinavia over the North Sea through the UK to Northern Ireland. This would result in the third cold spell in recent weeks.

"Some frost at night might be possible. Temperatures at daytime would be much lower than normal. Some wintry precipitation may be possible as well.

"The cold spell would not be longer than two or three days. We've already dubbed it the Siberian hamster after the Beast and the mini Beast from the East earlier this year."

The forecast has been given by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts which predicts that wintry showers are expected as a northerly wind batters the UK. It is expected to hit the UK mainland first before making its way to Northern Ireland.

A weather forecaster for the BBC said: "Some computer models are suggesting that we are going to have a blast of cold Arctic air with wind coming in from the north.

"In this situation we do tend to get snow across northern Britain and there could even be wintry showers further south as well."

Dr Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist at The Weather Channel, said: "As we head into April, most computer forecast models suggest we will get at least one more big cold spell before the blocking pattern fades, with warmer and wetter weather confined to parts of southern Europe."

Easter 2013 is recorded as being Northern Ireland's sixth coldest Easter period.

Farms and families were cut off by huge snow drifts, with many roads left impassable for days on end.

Belfast Telegraph

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