Expert warns arctic winters on the way

The Foyle Bridge surrounded by the snow and ice. (0501PG63)
The Foyle Bridge surrounded by the snow and ice. (0501PG63)

A polar bear on the banks of the Foyle may seem pretty far fetched, and summer may not yet have kicked in, but Derry is being warned to brace itself for another harsh winter.

James Madden, long range forecaster for Exacta Weather, says the city should prepare for a winter similar to that of the last two years because of changes to a number of key variables that dictate our weather. He says this winter is likely to rival, perhaps surpass, the winter of 2010/11 when temperatures reached a 30 year low and ice floes gathered on the Foyle.

“I expect the 2011-2012 winter to follow a similar pattern in terms of how November and December was in 2010 for the vast majority of this winter,” he says.

“It will be exceptionally cold and snowy with well below average temperatures.”

Mr Madden says a number of factors - low solar activity, drastic alterations to the Gulf Stream, the influence of La Nina (the cooling of the Pacific Ocean near the equator) and the impact of volcanic ash - are coming together and giving rise to the harsh winter prediction.

He says it’s vital people start preparing now.

“It is therefore vital to start preparing now in terms of high energy bills and raising awareness amongst the most vulnerable and elderly people of society.”

More details are available online at