Weather Warning

STORM WARNING: Storm Bella's 'vast gales' to batter Ireland and sweep snow across the country

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@offalyexpress.ie

weather snow met éireann forecast

STORM WARNING: Storm Bella's 'vast gales' to batter Ireland and sweep snow across the country

Storm Bella will sweep in over Ireland on St Stephen's Day bring gales and heavy rain but the weather front will also drag snow, sleet, hail and ice in its wake, Met Éireann has warned.

Met Éireann has issued a weather warning for western counties and a weather commentary on what to expect over the Festive weekend when Bella is expected to make its presence felt. Meteorologist, Liz Walsh and Hydro-meteorologist, Stephen Carey outlined what to expect in a commentary on Christmas Eve.

"Whilst Christmas Day itself promises to be generally quiet day weather-wise with increasing cloud, and patchy rain and drizzle, mainly over northwestern areas, our weather looks set to turn much more unsettled as we head into the festive weekend.

"A briefly milder spell of wet and windy, potentially stormy, the weather is expected on Saturday in association with Storm Bella named by the British Met Office, with much colder weather following for Sunday and into early next week," they say. MORE BELOW TWEET.

They say the cold and warm air clashing will cause stormy weather.

"Some very cold air currently emerging from northwest Canada and Greenland, is expected to meet relatively warm air over the western Atlantic, resulting in a powering up of the Polar Front Jet Stream. A complex low-pressure system, named Storm Bella by the UK Met Office this morning, is tracking eastwards over Greenland today (Christmas Eve).

"The low looks set to engage the developmental zone of this powered up Jet Stream, which will help to deepen it to the north of Iceland on Friday, Christmas Day. Storm Bella will be tracking eastwards over parts of Iceland by Saturday afternoon, and is expected to have grown into quite a large feature by then, generating a vast swathe of gales, westerly veering northerly, across the North Atlantic as it interacts with the Azores high to the south.

"Storm Bella is then forecast to track southeastwards towards the North Sea whilst deepening a little more into Saturday night bringing a spell of wet and very windy weather over Ireland for Saturday afternoon/evening/night as an associated squally cold front tracks southeastwards over the country," they say.

A yellow level wind warning has now been issued for Saturday for Connacht, Donegal and western parts of Munster, valid from Midday on Saturday through to 6am on Sunday, and the situation will continue to be monitored by Met Éireann’s meteorologists through Christmas Day and updated as required. MORE BELOW TWEET.

The forecaster is warning of flooding inland and on coasts.

"Soils are mostly saturated countrywide, and waterlogged in some places. Rivers are already elevated in the western and southern half of the country in response to appreciable rainfall over the last week or so. Whilst forecast rainfall may not reach rainfall warning criteria, heavy rainfall may cause localised flooding.

"Met Éirean say the combination of forecast storm surge and very unsettled, potentially stormy conditions, associated with a Storm Bella on Saturday/ Sunday, is likely to increase the risk of coastal flooding," says the commentary.

After the Storm leaves cold weather will take a grip. It will turn colder again from Saturday night onwards with wintry weather on the cards.

"Behind the cold front on Saturday night, some rather cold and deeply unstable air will bring showers on Sunday and early next week. Some of these showers will have a wintry flavour to them, with a mix of rain, hail, sleet and possibly some snow likely. People travelling by road from Saturday night onwards are advised to watch out for the risk of icy stretches and poor visibility in showers," said the commentary.

People are urged to keep up to date with the forecasts and warnings at www.met.ie

More weather forecast details below tweet.

NATIONAL FORECAST Issued by Met Éirean at 4.46pm on December 24.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 25 Chirstmas Day
On Christmas morning, frost and ice will clear. Bright or sunny spells in many areas at first, especially in the east. Cloud will increase from the west with a little drizzle in places. Rain will develop in the northwest in the early evening. Highest temperatures of 4 to 8 degrees with light to moderate southwest breezes fresher on west and northwest coasts.

Becoming breezy overnight with scattered outbreaks of rain spreading southwards over the country. Minimum temperatures of 5 to 8 degrees in freshening southwest winds.

Saturday (St. Stephen's Day): Increasingly windy on St. Stephen's Day with scattered outbreaks of rain and drizzle. There'll be good dry periods in parts of the east and south for a time. However, heavy rain will develop in northern counties by afternoon, extending nationwide during the afternoon and evening bringing a risk of localised flooding. Maximum temperatures of 7 to 11 degrees in strong to gale force southwest winds. On Saturday night, heavy rain will clear southwards and it will turn much colder. Clear spells and scattered wintry showers will extend across the country before dawn on Sunday with some ice forming in sheltered areas. Minimum temperatures of 0 to 4 degrees in strong and gusty west to northwest winds.

Sunday: Sunday will be a cold and blustery day with bright spells and scattered showers, some wintry in nature. Maximum temperatures of 3 to 6 degrees in fresh to strong and gusty west to northwest winds. Ice forming in places for a time on Sunday night with lowest temperatures of 0 to 3 degrees. Showers will become fairly widespread during the night, turning wintry in places as strong to gale force northwest winds develop.

Monday: Cold and windy on Monday with widespread showers, possibly wintry on high ground with a risk of hail. Highest temperatures of 5 to 8 degrees but feeling much colder owing to the added wind-chill factor in strong and gusty northwest winds. Staying cold and blustery overnight with a mix of clear spells and scattered showers. Minimum temperatures of 1 to 4 degrees in fresh northwest winds.

Tuesday: Another cold and blustery day is forecast for Tuesday with a mix of bright spells and showers, some possibly wintry but generally of rain or hail. Highest temperatures of 4 to 7 degrees in fresh northwest winds.