WEATHER WARNING: North braced for very chilly winter

The setting sun highlights the ice on the River Foyle at Craigavon Bridge in 2011. LS02-108KM10
The setting sun highlights the ice on the River Foyle at Craigavon Bridge in 2011. LS02-108KM10

The North of Ireland looks set for an extremely cold winter with the chance of snow very high.

The Met Office have warned due to the current pattern of the Polar Vortex we could experience some intense cold snaps.

Some fear a return to the winter of 2010/2011 when the North experienced the coldest December in 100 years.

The Polar Vortex, the winds high in the stratosphere, circling the Arctic, are disturbed and weak at the moment. Although these winds are many kilometres above the surface, they can influence the strength and position of the jet stream, and this is helping to increase the risk of cold snaps in the UK.

Professor Adam Scaife, head of long-range prediction at the Met Office Hadley Centre, explained: “The risk of a cold start to winter has increased to 30% this year. Statistically, however, it is still more likely that the UK will experience a normal start to winter, but there is an increased risk of cold snaps between now and Christmas.”

Mr Scaife added: “Historical weather observations and our latest computer model simulations agree that these factors are increasing the risk of a cold start to winter for the UK, but this is unlikely to persist through winter as a whole.”

The record of recent winter outlooks has been encouraging, and the Met Office outlook has given good advice in recent winters for the UK as a whole. For example, last winter the mild wet stormy December and drier, cooler end to winter was picked up more than a month ahead.