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Outlook is bright with dry start to New Year

NEW Year celebrations are set to proceed without a weather hitch as forecasters predict a mild and uneventful end to 2010.

Dry conditions will prevail for the start of 2011, after a week of snowfall and blizzards paralysed Ireland in the run-up to Christmas.

Met Eireann forecaster John Eagleton told the Herald that there were "no signs" of last week's "horror story" returning.

"The weather will be generally dry in the run-up to the New Year. It got very mild yesterday so it's going to get slightly colder before the end of the week, but nothing like what we had around Christmas," he said.

"The weather will vary after that across the country but it will all be within the normal range [for December]. There are no signs of the horror story returning."

While forecasters expect us to get a sunny reprieve, temperatures will remain near freezing-point, as normal for this time of the year.

"New Year's Eve, Friday night, looks like it will be nice, temperatures will be quite cool -- one or two degrees Celsius -- there will be some frost but no wind so we won't feel it as much," Mr Eagleton said.



Delays

Gardai have advised motorists to drive with caution, particularly on local roads where melting snow has created water pools.

Ireland's main airport in Dublin is now fully operational and is expected to remain so into the New Year. However, there were some delays and cancellations due to poor flying conditions caused by a major snowstorm on the eastern coast of the United States.

Services have resumed today into and out of New York, Boston and Philadelphia, but there have been warnings of delays as backlogs clear.

Three airports serving New York -- JFK, La Guardia and Newark Liberty International Airport -- and also Boston's Logan and Philadelphia International reopened late last night. But knock-on effects from yesterday led to the cancellation of two flights out of Dublin to the US today.

Delta flight DL165 to New York leaving from Dublin's new terminal at 10.45am today was cancelled, as was this afternoon's Aer Lingus flight EI109 to JFK Airport that was due to depart at 3.45pm.

Meanwhile, Leopardstown Christmas Festival is set to resume today after the races were cancelled on St Stephen's Day and yesterday.

A spokesperson for Leopardstown told the Herald that the races that were cancelled on December 26 would take place on December 30, as that day had remained empty to deal with any unforeseen delay.

hnews@herald.ie