NI snow and ice warning spans three days with all December looking colder than average

January 13, 2017: Walkers on Divis Mountain, Belfast
January 13, 2017: Walkers on Divis Mountain, Belfast

Northern Ireland may well be in for a colder-than-usual December in general, as well as an icy couple of days ahead.

A Met Office yellow warning for snow and ice will be in force across the Province from midnight tonight, and is not due to end until 6pm on Saturday.

However, there is only a brief break before this yellow warning is re-instated from 4am on Sunday morning, running right through to midnight.

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said Friday and Saturday had the potential for snow showers to develop anywhere, but particularly in the northern half of Northern Ireland.

He said there is the potential for 2cm to 5cm of snowfall (0.8inches to 2 inches) on lower ground. Higher ground may see 10cm (3.9inches) fall – or, in particularly “extreme” cases, up to 20cm (7.9inches).

There is less chance of snow on Saturday night, but Sunday’s yellow snow warning will bring the potential for similar levels of snowfall as those forecast above – however this is less clear, and Mr Madge said it could end up falling as rain.

Currently Northern Ireland, and much of the UK, is in the grip of what he described as an “arctic maritime” air mass, which has swooped in in the wake of Scotland’s Storm Caroline on Thursday.

It is “hard to be certain” when these arctic conditions will end he said. “At the moment it looks as though December could be colder than average. We could be stuck in this pattern for a little while.”

Could this spell a white Christmas?

“It’s too early to call,” he said.

As for Thursday, he said the highest temperature was just under 8C at the Giant’s Causeway at 9.41am before the weather grew much colder.

In terms of minimum temperatures, at time of writing at about 6pm on Thursday, the lowest had been 3.5C at Killylane, Co Antrim.