Met Éireann has reported a cold day countrywide, with wintry showers of hail, sleet and snow most frequent across Ulster. Temperatures could drop to -2 degrees overnight there, bringing frost, the forecaster predicted.
Met Éireann described Easter Monday as “unseasonably cold”, with highs of just 4 to 8 degrees. Parts of Donegal and Northern Ireland reported snowfall on Easter Monday as temperatures dropped to two degrees.
“The average for this time of year would be in the region of 10 to 13 degrees. That is a long-term average, obviously this fluctuates year to year,” said forecaster Andrew Doran-Sherlock.
The cold snap is the result of low pressure around Scandinavian countries and high pressure in the Atlantic. “Between them we are in this northerly air flow. It is Arctic air, so it is cold,” he added.
The Arctic air mass responsible for the “unusually late season frost” is due to linger until Tuesday afternoon, which will be marked by highs of 4 to 7 degrees, according to Met Éireann. As Tuesday progresses into evening, the higher pressure over the Atlantic will produce a “weak warm front”, bringing rain and drizzle overnight, said Mr Doran-Sherlock.
Wednesday will be a little warmer but generally cloudy with scattered outbreaks of rain. It will be driest in the southwest of the country, with highs of 8 to 10 degrees in a moderate westerly breeze. Overnight, temperatures could reach as low as -1.
Thursday will be cloudy and breezy with scattered outbreaks of rain, according to Met Éireann. Winds will be moderate to fresh, but stronger along northwestern coasts. A band of rain is expected to move down from the northwest in the early evening, making way for clearer and colder conditions in the following days. Lowest temperatures will be between 0 and 3 degrees.
The cold will edge in again by Friday, although sunny spells will break through. Brisk north to northwest winds will produce a scattering of wintry showers, most frequent across Ulster. Temperatures are set to drop on Friday, with Met Éireann predicting a “widespread sharp to severe frost” and a few fog patches as well.
Meanwhile, AA Roadwatch has urged road users to take caution when making essential journeys in Donegal, where snow is reportedly affecting conditions on some higher ground. It also advised of foggy conditions around Waterford city.