Northern Ireland is to be spared the much predicted ‘worst winter in half-a-century’, forecasters suggest.
Over recent weeks, media reports have suggested the UK and Ireland is in line for months of wintry conditions, with heavy snow expected to start falling in December and continue until March.
A long-range forecast from Exacta Weather shows the potential for months of heavy show, and expects the first flakes to start falling in Yorkshire in December and continue until March, although the earliest snowfall could arrive by early November.
Exacta Weather forecaster James Madden said: “It is likely to turn significantly colder from mid October onwards.
“This is likely to bring the first significant snow of winter above higher ground in parts of Scotland and potentially to some well-elevated parts of Northern Ireland.
“Some potentially wintry showers could develop in some other parts of the country during the evening or overnight when temperatures will dip with the strong influence of some cool northerly winds.
“The cold winds will allow it to be more settled, but during some periods of showers or unsettled weather we could see some wintry showers develping in places, particularly in some rural parts of the country.
“Some much lower levels of the country could see some early wintry showers during the latter part of October and into November.”
A combination of freak conditions including the most powerful El Nino on record and changes in air pressure over the Arctic are set to cause contribute to the icy conditions, forecasters have predicted.
But The Met Office has reacted to the speculation with a word of caution.
It says that “there is no sign of any snow for the UK, but low overnight temperatures will allow some localised frost and fog to form.”
And forecasters at Accuweather say Ireland can expect cold snaps - but not the much feared Arctic conditions other forecaster are predicting.
According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert, “The United Kingdom and Ireland look to avoid the worst storm impacts as most of the storm systems track to the south across France and northern Spain.
“Extreme cold is also expected to be limited for northwest Europe as the core of the cold air builds over Scandinavia and then is unleashed southward with only brief periods of below-normal temperatures reaching northwest Europe.
“The one exception will be Ireland and Scotland where colder-than-normal water temperatures in the North Atlantic will keep high temperatures below normal for much of the winter. Overnight low temperatures will still be near normal,” he said.
Meanwhile if you are one for a flutter, bookmaker Paddy Power is offering odds of 5/2 on snow falling on Christmas Day in Belfast