First week of the new year will see temperatures dip and flurry of snow on higher ground
It’s time to dig out the winter woolies with colder temperatures expected to hit Northern Ireland from tomorrow.
The Christmas and New Year period delivered some unexpected milder weather, with the Met Office confirming a new high for the final day of the year in the province.
Murlough in Co Down reached 13.8C around lunchtime, but that then rose to 14.3C.
The previous highest temperature was 13C recorded at Pubble Forest in Co Fermanagh in 1974, Murlough in 2011 and Loughgall, Co Armagh, in 2014.
The UK temperature record also fell three times during the day.
The previous high of 14.8C, recorded at Colwyn Bay in North Wales in 2011, was surpassed at 11am yesterday in Ryehill, East Yorkshire, when the mercury hit 14.9C.
The following hour a high of 15.3C was recorded in Coningsby, Lincolnshire. But that was beaten when Merryfield in Somerset recorded 15.8C.
On New Year’s Day, crowds flooded to the north coast to take advantage of the milder weather.
However, Met Office meteorologist Simon Partridge said January “is going to arrive” tomorrow as temperatures will be dropping to average levels for the time of year.
This morning will see the last of the mild weather at eight to nine degrees with a band of rain moving across Northern Ireland from the north.
Once the rain clears, the weather is expected to get chillier and that will continue into tomorrow.
“On Tuesday we go from eight or nine degrees down to four or five degrees as a maximum temperature so it will be feeling much chillier,” said Mr Partridge.
“It will also be quite windy on Tuesday in the north so that’s going to add to the cold feel as well.
“It may be four or five degrees but it will probably feel a good two or three degrees less than that when you’re out and about.
“Apart from being colder, there will also be a scattering of showers across Northern Ireland throughout the day.
“Some of them will be wintry, especially in higher ground. You may well see a little bit of sleet or snow in those areas, you will certainly see a bit of hail around in those showers as well.
“It will be a whole different ball game when you wake up on Tuesday morning compared to Monday morning.”
The weather will improve slightly on Wednesday with temperatures remaining around 5C but less winds will stop it from feeling just as cold.
“It will be quite a nice day — one of those crisp winter days with light winds and decent sunny spells,” continued Mr Partridge.
“It will be a cold night as we start Thursday but then it all changes again as a band of rain will move across Northern Ireland through Thursday morning.
“There will be a little bit of hill snow but it will then turn back to rain. That will clear by the afternoon and then we’re back into north-westerly winds which will be quite blustery with wintry showers again.”
The colder weather is forecast to remain into the weekend.
December’s new highs came after what was the UK’s dullest December since 1956.
The Met Office said there had been just 26.6 hours of sunshine over 30 days — 38% less than the average for this time of year.
The figure places last month in the running to be one of the 10 dreariest Decembers on record.
The brightest December was in 2001, with 64 hours of sunshine recorded on average.