Spring may have officially arrived — both meteorologically and astronomically speaking — but an ‘Arctic chill’ bringing wintry snow showers to Northern Ireland has made it feel very different.
Tuesday saw icy patches and snow showers fall early on both high and low ground as a yellow weather warning remained in place from Easter Monday.
Overnight temperatures dipped to -2°C, and were expected to rise to 4°C by the afternoon, as blustery snow showers, heavy in places — amid some brief sunny spells — persisted throughout Tuesday.
After the balmy temperatures which was accompanied by sunshine that basked much of Northern Ireland over the bank holiday weekend, colder weather is expected to continue throughout the remainder of this week.
The Met Office said Northern Ireland will wake up on Wednesday to less chilly weather, with periods of clear skies and a few isolated wintry showers, which will be mostly confined to coastal areas.
Maximum temperature will be 8°C and by evening clouds will gather and snow will fall on hills following some rain.
Meanwhile, the outlook for Thursday will likely see a dry start, which will later make way for some periods of rain, along with winds strengthening as night falls.
Northern Ireland can expect a return of winter showers from Friday, and continuing through to the start of the weekend.
A spokesperson for the Met Office explained that UK-wide temperatures currently “look to be largely below average for this time of year”.
The contrast between the chilly start of April to the same period last year during the first lockdown could not be starker. Then, much of the UK, including Northern Ireland, enjoyed spring weather that was on par to the summer as lengthy spells of bright, clear sunshine went on for weeks.
Looking to next week, the Met Office said the forecast for the British Isles is “looking very cold and wintry, especially for northern areas”.
“Uncertainty remains in how far south this very cold air will extended. Within this a mixture of sunny spells and showers remains likely. Some of these outbreaks may be wintry, especially in the north,” said the spokesperson.
“Furthermore, strong winds are expected for northern parts at first, though easing later. After this, conditions are likely to turn drier and more settled for most, with the greatest likelihood of unsettled spells in the northwest.”