Belfast Telegraph

Picture perfect in the Northern Ireland snow - but heavy rain on way in

By David Young

These beautiful picture postcard scenes from rural Northern Ireland will soon give way to the more traditional damp greens, greys and browns of winter, according to the UK's Met Office.

While 28 Northern Ireland schools were closed yesterday due to the adverse weather conditions, Met Office forecaster Rachel Adshead said that this weekend would see an end to the snow - and the return of the rain.

The Met Office has warned that the outbreaks of rain are likely to fall onto freezing surfaces following the recent very cold spell.

A yellow warning for ice has been put in place from 1am on Sunday January 21 until 9am.

"For the last few days it's been really cold with a lot of snow-showers around, with the snow depth reaching almost nine inches in some places," Ms Adshead told the Belfast Telegraph last night.

"But the good news is that early on Saturday morning the snow showers will ease away.

"That's good news for people who are getting a bit fed up with the snow.

"The reason for all the snow", she said, "was a cold airflow fed by west-north-westerly winds.

"But as we come into Saturday, the winds will become more south-westerly - and that will bring milder air up and over Northern Ireland.

"But unfortunately, that south-westerly wind will also bring thick cloud and rain from Saturday morning."

However, this afternoon is shaping up to be not too bad at all, the Met Office expert said.

"It will clear up though as the day goes by, and Saturday afternoon looks like it will be fairly dry, with just one or two showers around.

"Nothing like as many as we've had recently. There will be lighter winds - and even some sunshine!"

But it's very much a case of make the most of it, she warned, because things will turn wet later this evening, and tomorrow starts off on a very damp note with a yellow warning for rain in force, before the weather turns drier in the afternoon.

And by tomorrow, temperatures will be quite a bit milder.

"Recent daytime temperatures have hovered around 3C, but Sunday could see a temperature high of 10C - a real jump up.

"The milder temperatures will bring a thaw and, coupled with the rain, the snow melt may bring localised flooding to some areas of the Province as the surface water pours away." Looking forward into next week, the forecaster said we've seen the last of the Arctic conditions for now.

"Things will continue on the mild side," she advised.

"There will be a little rain and it will be breezy - but nothing like as cold as it has been over the last few days, she added.

A spokesman for the Education Authority said that all schools planned to be open on Monday.

Belfast Telegraph

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