Experts believe that Ireland could be heading into a long winter as migratory birds are arriving early from Siberia, which is NOT a good sign.
In Slimbridge, Gloucestershire in England, a flock (300-strong) of Bewick swans annually migrate 2,500 miles from Arctic Russia to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. This usually signifies the start of winter. The birds have already arrived making this the earliest arrival since 1963. Their arrival could signify that Western Europe will be in for a very cold winter.
This year the flight of birds is 25 days early.
The winter of 1962/1963 remains the coldest winter on record in Ireland and the UK since records began, according to IrishWeatherOnline’s Patrick Gordon. The consistency of low daily mean temperatures that set in during the Christmas period of 1962, which lasted right up to the middle of March, was truly remarkable.
Snow showers continued to fall in counties Wicklow, Waterford, Wexford, Cork, Tipperary, Limerick, Kildare and Kilkenny, which added to the already significant accumulations in these areas and further isolated rural areas. In Europe, it was reported that at least 500 people died due to the intense cold that set in during late December.
Already this year Ireland’s national meteorological service, Met Eireann, is predicting a polar continental air mass to arrive in Ireland making the next week very chilly, by Irish standards.
Similarly, forecasts from Accuweather aren’t looking great for Ireland. They stated that while UK and Ireland will avoid major storms it will be freezing this winter.
They said, “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.
Slimbridge swan expert Julia Newth said, "Apparently there's a Russian saying that 'the swan brings snow on its bill,' because they tend to move just ahead of the cold weather.
She told the Daily Telegraph, “Of course, we can't infer much from the arrival of a single swan but it's certainly exciting this bird has arrived so early.
"It's only a year old and, because it's made it all the way here on its own, we assume that it must have come to Slimbridge last year as a cygnet with its parents.
"We record all the Bewick's swans that come to Slimbridge each winter by their unique bill pattern as part of our study and give them a name.
"This one needed a name, so we've called him Record Breaker."
Another reason for concern over Ireland’s winter is El Niño, which is underway in the tropical Pacific. This is a series of climatic changes affecting the equatorial Pacific region and beyond every few years.
Read more: The five worst Irish storms ever recorded