The recent extreme cold snap is over, but the cold weather will return next week and may be around for St Patrick’s Day.
Temperatures dropped as low as minus 3.4 degrees overnight at Markree Castle in Co Sligo, and it remains cold in the northern half of the island with highs of just two to five degrees.
There will be a dramatic rise in temperatures on Saturday afternoon as warmer air crosses the country, and parts of the south will see highs of between nine and 12 degrees today. The warm air will not reach northern counties until Sunday, however, so there is a risk of freezing temperatures in Ulster overnight.
The mild weather will remain until Monday night after which there will be a brief return to the freezing temperatures of recent days. There will be lows of minus two overnight on Monday night, and Tuesday will be a cold day.
Temperatures will drop below freezing in a biting northwesterly wind, and there is a chance of sleet and snow for most parts late on Tuesday. Tuesday night is forecast to be very cold with lows of minus three to four degrees in the western half of the country and there will be a chance of snow and ice.
The last of the snow will clear away on Wednesday morning to be replaced by unsettled weather.
Met Éireann forecaster Andrew Doran-Sherlock said the forecast for St Patrick’s Day weekend remains uncertain with cold air to the north and warmer air to the south. “Any time there is a potential of rain hitting cold air there is a possibility of sleet or snow, but as it currently looks that would be most likely be on high ground,” he said.
“It doesn’t look like it will be anywhere near as widespread as of late. It is looking like there could be some rain in the south and east and coldest in the north and west, but not the cold that we have had of late.”