long range weather
forecast ireland winter 2011
A long range weather forecaster is predicting an early start to winter 2011-2012 for many
regions of the United Kingdom and Ireland. James Madden of Exacta Weather says heavy snowfalls are likely in
places as soon as late October and early November.
Last week, UK-based Positive Weather Solutions also predicted that the winter months will be
colder than average everywhere and that some regions will experience significantly colder than average
temperatures between December and March.
The agency, which has a relatively high success rate in its long range weather
predictions, has also given a 36% chance of the Ireland and Britain experiencing a White Christmas. This prediction
in reflected in the latest odds from William Hill Bookmakers who have given shortened odds of snow falling on Christmas
The bookmaker have also given odds of 16/1 that the lowest recorded temperature in
England will be beaten (-26.1C, Jan 10 1982, Shropshire), and even odds of 100/1 that Big Ben Fails to chime due to
being frozen solid and that the Thames will freeze over between Westminster Bridge and Tower
The chilly long range forecasts also follow the coolest summer since 1986 in many parts of Ireland
and since 1962 in parts of the southwest. The highest temperature recorded this summer was 25.5°C at Oak
Park, Co. Carlow on the 3rd of June.
Meanwhile, commenting on the autumn and winter months in his
updated seasonal forecast (2 September), James Madden stated
that the UK and Ireland can expect a cooler than average theme to continue as we head into autumn. He is
predicting a notable increase in usual wind strengths for this time of year across many parts, that will
result in frequent and potentially damaging gale force winds and strong stormy features throughout autumn and
"Although some places further South may see some spells of settled weather at times,
the general theme for autumn as a whole looks largely wet and very windy with dominant grey skies. It will be
generally unsettled and turn progressively colder with an early start to winter, especially more so in the regions
of Scotland, Northern England, and Northern Ireland", he said.
Madden's Winter Forecast
"As we head towards winter, I expect to see the first signs of some moderate to heavy
snowfalls as early as October or November in certain parts of the UK. In terms of the meteorological winter, I
expect December, January, and February to experience below average temperatures, with the heaviest snowfalls
occurring within the time frame of November to January across many parts of the UK."
"The most important factor within our weather forecasting calculations is solar
activity and other major natural factors that it influences. Radiant energy from the sun is the primary influence
on both the earth's ocean and atmosphere."
"Low solar activity and ocean behaviour alter atmospheric circulation and block jet
stream patterns that create enhanced moisture in terms of snowfall. The UK and Ireland is hit by prolonged periods
of extreme cold and snow from the Arctic regions, as cold easterlies or north-easterlies develop. Huge swirly low
pressure systems also offer the potential for widespread disruption from heavy snowfall across many parts of the UK
including the South, as they clash with the predominant cold air over the UK."
"Coupled with other in depth factors such as recent volcanic activity and changes to
the Gulf Stream/North Atlantic drift that we consider, this does not bode well for the severity of the UK and
Northern European winter of winter 2011-12. Frequent and prolonged cold spells with heavy dumps of snow from
blizzard like conditions is likely across many parts of the UK. The areas we expect to be worse hit throughout
include the vast majority of Scotland and the Scottish Highlands, Northern England, and Northern Ireland. We have
particular concerns as to the huge implications that this may pose to the infrastructure of the UK and Ireland
A continuation of the cycle of severe wintry weather?
Though overall temperatures during the past two winters have been close to or
slightly below normal for the season, both Ireland and the UK did experience periods of extreme
Late November and December 2010 brought prolonged periods of cold weather leading to
significant disruption to traffic and travel. Castlederg recorded a Northern Ireland record low temperature of
−18.7 °C (−1.7 °F) on the morning of 23rd December 2010, while mercury levels dipped to minus 17.5c in Straide, Co
Mayo on Christmas morning. December 2010 also was the coldest December across the UK since the national series
began in 1910, according to the UK Met Office.
The "Big Freeze" of November/December 2010 also saw record low temperatures being
Ireland Prepares For Wintry Weather
The National Roads Authority (NRA) has ordered an additional 80,000 tonnes
of rock salt to treat the country's national road network during winter 2011-2012. An NRA spokesperson told Irish
Weather Online (IWO) that the supplies, which are scheduled to arrive from North Africa during the coming weeks,
are in addition to existing grit supplies totalling 70,000 tonnes.
Sean O'Neill stated that a tender had been advertised on etenders.gov.ie for the
supply of a further 40,000 tonnes of rock salt to be supplied to local authorities to assist them in their efforts
to treat non-national routes.
"We used approximately 115,000 tonnes of grit to treat the national network last
winter, which we would consider an unusually cold season compared to average winters in Ireland. In previous years
we have not been required to use more than 50-60,000 tonnes of grit", he said.
Mr. O'Neill noted that the decision to order additional rock salt supplies was made
in light of an anticipated rise in demand for supplies closer to the coming winter as well as improved shipping
conditions at this time of the year.
Meanwhile, local authorities across the country have already started preparing for
any possible repeat of last winter's Big Freeze. Dozens of additional salt barns are being constructed throughout
the country while the storage capacity of many other existing facilities is being increased. Cork County Council
has also submitted a tender for the purchase of Winter Maintenance Salt Spreaders and to carry out alterations to
Elsewhere, the Dublin Airport Authority has already set about securing De-icing
Materials for its airports at Dublin, Cork and Shannon.