Mild weather forecast for next week despite cold snap warning

Met Éireann says a repeat of 2018′s freezing conditions a possibility but warns of uncertainty

Mild spring-like weather is predicted for the next week despite the likely presence of the weather event that caused 2018′s prolonged cold snap, Met Éireann has said.

The chances of a prolonged period of cold weather to rival the so-called Beast from the East has increased following a new warning from the UK Met Office.

Its climate scientists have raised the possibility of a sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) to more than 80 per cent and say it is imminent and likely to happen, beginning next week.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States’ government’s forecasting agency, has gone further stating that a SSW is “certain” to happen.


The SSW occurs when the polar vortex which circulates around the North Pole becomes disturbed. The stratospheric temperature over the Pole can rise by 50 degrees in the space of a few days, impacting the jet stream further south.

The jet stream brings mild Atlantic air to Ireland and is responsible for our relatively mild winters given the island’s latitude, but a SSW can displace the jet stream and bring frigid eastern air from Siberia over northern Europe, as it did in 2018.

When Atlantic storm Emma met the cold air in 2018, it brought the heaviest snowfall in Ireland for 36 years.

The impact of a SSW usually occurs a couple of weeks after it first presents itself. Any impact is likely to happen towards the end of February, around the time that the Beast from the East occurred five years ago.

Met Éireann forecaster Paul Downes said a repeat of the freezing conditions of 2018 is a possibility, but he cautioned there is a great deal of uncertainty around the impact of such a weather phenomenon.

“These events can bring a plunge of cold air. [The year] 2018 was like that. Where it happens, how it happens, there is a lot of unknowns with that forecast technique,” he said.

“It could affect us or affect America or Russia. At the moment we are not seeing anything which suggests a weather event. If anything, the next week is going to be mild. It’s a precursor which raises the possibility of cold weather, but it definitely does not say we will get a cold spell.”

Any impact it might have will be more apparent next week, he said.

“The forecast for the next week is for mild spring-like weather with temperatures at or above normal for the time of year. It will be mostly dry too.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times