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There’s a colder winter on the way

Difficult weather conditions in Letterkenny during a recent cold winter.

Difficult weather conditions in Letterkenny during a recent cold winter.

DONEGAL could be in for a white Christmas this year as temperatures are set to turn much colder, according to local meteorologist Kenneth McDonagh.
 
With a significant drop in temperatures this week, the man behind popular online site the Donegal Weather Channel told the Donegal News: “The big question at this time of year is what winter has in store. Lots of people are wondering if we might see a repeat of December, 2010, when most of Ireland and the UK where under a blanket of snow.” 
 
Mr McDonagh said that recent years have seen extremes of temperature, with last year being the warmest on record. “Last winter there was a strong El Niño in progress and was also one of the warmest years on record according to scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).”
 
Turning his attention to what’s in store for 2016, Mr McDonagh stated: “This winter I expect more colder periods especially starting towards the end of October. We will see harder frosts but drier weather much the same as the trend we have been seeing in Ireland for the last week.
“Over the coming months there will be more colder days than seen last winter along with a few more days with snowfall, although not on the scale of 2010. I also expect the Atlantic to be less powerful this winter with fewer storms than last year. Although there will be nothing on the scale of last year where Donegal was battered by more than nine storms in the space of four months.”
 
The meteorologist said there is a strong possibility that we could be in for a “heavy snowfall event” with odds higher than previous years.
“Areas that will see the most snowfall over winter all depend on whether or not we end up under a north easterly or easterly flow. Northern counties like Donegal would be quite affected by the ‘Beast from the East’ which comes from Scandinavia and with water warmer than land over the Irish sea this can bring in quite heavy snow streamers also.”
 
He continued: “If we were to end up with a Northerly airflow then the chances of snowfall would be much higher in Donegal and Ulster than anywhere else. This type of airflow is what we call a Arctic blast which also can have a nasty wind-chill affect. Then we have a polar front which comes from a cold sourced wind flow from a Northwest direction. This air source is when you would see the heaviest falls over the county especially over the northern half.”
 
Mr McDonagh concluded: “November and December this year look drier than the record breaking rainfall we saw last year. However, it could end up cooler looking at some longer range models at the moment.”
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