Winter has arrived in Ireland and snow has fallen – but the Arctic conditions of 2010 are unlikely to return.
The Mayo towns of Knock and Belmullet reported snowfalls on Sunday as temperatures fell to minus four degrees overnight.
Snow was also visible on higher ground in Ulster and Connacht with more snow expected in both provinces this week.
Forecasters say that daytime temperatures will average between 3 degrees and 6 degrees with the mild conditions prevalent in the south.
“Winter is definitely here now,” said forecaster John Eagleton from the government agency Met Eireann. “But I don’t think this can catch anybody by surprise.”
Last winter’s big freeze is unlikely to return as the winds will be mostly from the west rather than from the north, which traditionally brings snow showers in winter time.
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The arrival of winter follows the warmest autumn on record in most parts of the east and midlands.
Forecaster Pat Clarke said: “November has been mild, but December will be changeable and unsettled and cold.
“Apart from torrential rain, which brought its own problems, the transition from autumn into winter has been relatively benign. We’ve had very few frosts and no snow but it’s going to be cold for the next couple of days.
“There’ll be showers turning to sleet and snow in the north and north-west on Monday, but all areas are at risk. It will be blustery and cold, with strong winds slowly easing.”