Forecaster predicting big winter freeze-up
IT won't just be a white Christmas, but possibly the worst winter on record.
That's the prediction of a leading long-range forecaster, who has warned Ireland is set for a horror freeze and potentially "record-breaking" snowfall.
James Madden, meteorologist with Exacta Weather, said the worst of the bitter cold snap was likely to take hold from late December to early February, with above average snow depths throughout this period.
But he warned the country to brace itself for its chilliest start to the New Year in decades, predicting the whole of January would be "very cold and exceptionally snowy".
He warned: "January 2014 could prove to be potentially record-breaking in terms of the cold and snow episodes that are likely to develop across Ireland, with scenes reminiscent of December 2010 and the Ireland winter of 1962/63 becoming a distinct possibility."
He predicted Co Mayo, in particular, would bear the brunt of the big freeze in January, with more "above-average snow days" than the rest of the country. However, Mr Madden said coastal areas and parts of the South would escape the worst of the winter chill.
"It is likely that there will be some major disruption to the public transport network and school closures throughout January and the most major snow events are likely to occur in the first half of January," he said.
He also warned that there was a possibility of closed airports and power line disruptions.