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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Justin Kelly

Forecasters predict Christmas snow in UK as Met Éireann gives early verdict on white Christmas in Ireland

UK weather forecasters have signalled that the dreaded 'Beast from the East' could return this winter as snow looks likely to come in time for Christmas.

Signs of cold weather drivers emerging over Russia appear to have strengthened in recent weeks, says meteorologist Jim Dale from British Weather Services, increasing the chance of a cold snap in December.

High pressure over Europe is expected to move towards Britain around the start of the month, pulling winds in from the east. This development will mark the 'transition zone' into a period of prolonged cold weather, he says, which could last through the festive season.

Read More: Weather expert pinpoints day 'winter starts' alongside unusual weather pattern

The Met Office says its long-range models suggest we will be in for "mild weather" this winter and similarly, Met Éireann's early forecast for the big day doesn't mention snow.

In its forecast for November 28 to December 4, Met Éireann says it looks like we will "end November on a much drier note than of late, as high pressure looks to be the dominant influence over our weather. Rainfall is likely to be below average for the time of year, and temperatures also look to be slightly above average."

For the next week up to December 11, it predicts a "similar story with high pressure being the dominant influence over our weather for early December. Rainfall will likely be much lower than normal for the time of year, though temperatures will possibly dip lower than the average."

From December 12 to 18 "uncertainty grows in the forecast, and there is little signal in the way of high or low pressure dominating our weather."

"However, temperatures will likely be average for the time of year. Rainfall amounts in the south and southeast will likely be higher than normal, with below-average amounts expected elsewhere," Met Éireann's latest forecast says.

A cyclist in near-blizzard conditions (Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin)

For Christmas week, Met Éireann says "uncertainty grows."

"Again, there is little signal in the way of dominant pressure patterns establishing, though rainfall amounts are expected to be lower than normal for the time of year."

In the short-term, they say it will be sunny today as showers gradually become isolated, and largely dry conditions by evening. Highest temperatures of 7 to 11 degrees. Conditions will remain largely similar throughout the rest of the week with temperatures dipping close to zero overnight.

Winds become easterly by Friday with showers on east and south coasts but otherwise mainly dry, temperatures just 6 or 7 degrees during the day.

The forecaster says: "Current indications suggest a cold easterly wind through the weekend will continue to bring showers to coasts."

Meanwhile, in the UK, forecaster Mr Dale reckons a transition to severe cold is imminent.

"Pressure will start to rise towards the end of the month and into the start of December, holding back the Atlantic and marking the transition zone. We are then in a bit of a no man's land, with a few frosts, a few fogs, but nothing major.

"Then high pressure comes in for the start of December, and this is when we are expecting it to start building over the UK, with the first freezing plunge going into Europe and then, if it comes off, bringing easterlies into the UK.

"The Beast has opened its eyes, and the signals are still there for a possible easterly Beast from the East early blast of winter during the first half of December."

James Madden, forecaster for Exacta Weather, said the prospect for a white Christmas is currently "high" in the UK - although admitted this was "something that we need to keep an eye on for nearer the time."

In the meantime, he said we should expect "more wind and rain" while temperatures continue to fall towards something closer to the seasonal norm.


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