Could Omega blocking high weather give way to another beast from the east?

Snow expected in Greece and other parts of the Mediterranean could travel to Ireland

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly


There is an increased likelihood of much colder weather bringing frost, fog and snow according to Met Éireann's weather forecasting partner in Britain.

The Met Office issues summary forecasts out to 30 days. The latest of these indicates a possible change to much more colder weather than to date in winter 2018/19.

The forecaster cautiously predicts the change from January 17 to 31.

"Towards the end of January, however, there is an increased likelihood of a change to much colder weather generally, bringing an enhanced risk of frost, fog and snow. This cold spell is by no means certain though, and in any case, some milder, wet and windy interludes are likely during this period," says the forecast updated on January 2.

The forecaster bases its prediction on possible developments involving the movement of a so-called Omega blocking high which is sandwiched between two lows to the east and west.

It is separating two weather fronts - stormy Atlantic weather to the west of and much colder weather to the east which is bringing snow to southern Europe into the normally warm Mediterranean.

The Met Office warns that a movement of the Omega high to the west could have the potential to bring much cold weather to the two islands.

Met Éireann has indicated that a weather pattern causing much colder weather may establish but also insisted that it is too early to predict anything specific.

As for the short term, the Irish forecaster expects a dip in temperatures compared to the mild damp conditions over Christmas.

Wednesday night, January 2 will be largely dry and mostly cloudy tonight, although patchy drizzle will still occur, chiefly near Atlantic coasts early on. This may move to southern and southeastern coastal counties later in the night. A few clear spells at times, mainly in northern and eastern areas, with a patchy frost, as temperatures dip to between zero and plus 2 C. Less cold further south and west, with lows of 4 to 7 C. Mist patches will also form in the light east to southeast breezes.

Tomorrow, Thursday will be another predominantly dry day, but there will be a few patches of mist and drizzle scattered about, mainly in southern and southeastern counties. The cloud may break at times to allow a few bright or short sunny intervals to occur, but mostly cloudy overall. Winds will be light to moderate southeasterly. Afternoon highs will range 5 to 10 C., best in the southwest.

Thursday night is expected to be dry with variable cloud amounts and clear spells. Lowest temperatures will range minus 1 to plus 4 degrees, with a risk of a ground frost under longer clearer periods in eastern and northern counties. Light south to southeast winds. 

Another mainly dry day expected on Friday. Mostly cloudy conditions will prevail in southern and southwestern counties with the odd spot of drizzle possible, but the cloud will thin out elsewhere in the afternoon to produce sunny spells. Highest temperatures 5 to 9 degrees, coldest in Ulster. Winds mainly light southerly or southeasterly. 

It will be chilly again on Friday night, especially in parts of the north and east with temperatures falling to between minus 1 and plus 3 degrees under clear spells with frosts forming. Less cold under thicker cloud in the south and southwest with lows of 4 to 7 degrees. Winds mainly light southerly or southeasterly. 

Saturday will be bright or sunny in the east and north to begin, but cloudier conditions in the west and south will gradually extend to all parts by the afternoon. Most places will be dry with just isolated drizzle patches. Top temperatures 5 to 9 degrees in light southerly or variable breezes. Mostly cloudy on Saturday night.

Current indications suggest of scattered light rain or drizzle may edge into western and northwestern coastal counties from the Atlantic overnight. Lows of 2 to 6 degrees in light southerly or variable breezes. 

There is still some uncertainty with regard to Sunday's forecast at this stage, but the current guidance points to mostly cloudy and damp conditions in the north and west with scattered outbreaks of rain and drizzle. Drier conditions look likely to prevail further south. Highs of 6 to 9 degrees. 

Early indications suggest the drier than normal conditions will persist into early days of next week, though some rain is likely at times in parts of the north and northwest.