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Latest Laois News: Stormy week ahead for Laois
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Latest Laois News: Stormy week ahead for Laois

Series of Storms to hit Laois and Midlands in coming days

Wednesday, 16 February, 2022 ___ Forecasts for Ireland

Courtesy of Irish Weather Online

Well I suppose it was inevitable that after all that placid weather in January with weeks of almost dead calm under high pressure, the wheel would turn and now we seem to be facing a possible extreme weather event. Lots to get to this morning, and I need to underscore the uncertainty factor with the Friday forecast …

TODAY will be very mild and quite windy, westerly 70 to 110 km/hr and some potential for higher gusts at times near Atlantic coasts. High tides will be accompanied by unusually high sea states and could result in local coastal flooding (the full moon occurs later today making the pre-storm tidal levels rather high then add on about 0.75 metres or so for the wind enhancement). Highs of 13 to 15 C will be near record values for this date. A gradual cooling trend will be more noticeable in the north after mid-day, with temperatures there sliding down to about 7 C. The south may stay closer to 9-11 degrees. Winds will stay very blustery throughout. Some brighter intervals at first, then isolated squally showers and local thunderstorms possible.

TONIGHT will continue very windy especially up around Donegal and the north coast of Ulster. Winds westerly 50-80 km/hr for most but 80-120 km/hr possible up that way. Lows 3-5 C north, 5-7 C south.

THURSDAY will remain quite windy although with a bit of a break around the afternoon, with variable amounts of cloud and some outbreaks of light rain here and there, winds 40-60 km/hr at their least blustery before storm Eunice arrives overnight. Highs near 7 C north to 10 C south.

Very stormy end to this winter
Very stormy end to this winter

FRIDAY … storm Eunice will form rapidly to the west of Ireland on Thursday, and will head towards the south coast, possibly tracking inland through Munster and south Leinster. The guidance is still rather scattered on possible tracks. Before getting to the actual forecast, I can give you this background report … right now there’s an area of extreme upper level winds over the central Atlantic roughly midway from Newfoundland to the Azores. No storm has yet developed along the cold front that trails from storm “Dudley” but a storm will develop there late tonight and through the day tomorrow. Computer models are only as good as the data they receive, and some special efforts have apparently been made to provide extra upper air data for this storm. Hopefully a larger number of these will be provided in the next two or three runs, to give the models every chance to give us a good warning on track and intensity. … At this point, my forecast needs to be reasonably explicit but with a range of outcomes implied, if the track shifts north or south from what I have chosen at this point, then a different outcome is likely.

FYI, my choice of track is through the inland south and midlands towards Dublin and across the Irish Sea into north-central England. Some guidance is further south … On my estimated track, expect intervals of very strong south to southwest winds near the south coast with potential for local damage (80-130 km/hr possible). Rain would be dominant south of the track outlined, and mixtures of snow, sleet and rain north of the track. That would place much of the accumulating snow over higher parts of Connacht and Ulster, mixed rain and snow closer to sea level there, and probably a brief period of sleet or wet snow ahead of rain in Leinster. The storm would move through quite fast, and most of the very strong winds would be around 0500-0900h. But when the storm has reached the Irish Sea then strong and colder northwest winds would kick in and bring gusts to near 120 km/hr to the west coast and eventually 100 km/hr into the midlands. Temperatures would likely run 8 to 11 C in the milder sector south of the track, near 5 C along the track itself, and 2-4 C further north, possibly a bit colder over higher terrain.

FRIDAY NIGHT into SATURDAY a secondary low packing a punch also, will race along in that northwest flow and bring intervals of sleet, wet snow, changing to rain, with accumulations more likely again in higher parts of the north. Temperatures would be 2-5 C at first, eventually moderating to about 7-9 C late in the day, with SUNDAY turning quite mild again, windy with rain at times. Highs near 10 C.Next week looks active too, but we’ll cross that bridge if it’s still there after Eunice.One last time I want to emphasize that the Friday forecast is more of an educated guess based on which models I think handle these situations best, and it is entirely possible that a shift in storm track will change at least some regional outcomes more to the snow and cold side.

photo of sun shining on lake in Kilminchy Laois
Beautiful, settled and sunny days like this a a long way off ๐Ÿ“ท Uljana Ip

There is also a faint possibility of something like a last-minute reprieve from a less active storm, or one that goes so quickly to the north that everyone gets into the milder air and there isn’t much snow. These other possibilities are probably in the 1 in 5 range while something close to what I’ve outlined is the more likely on model consensus at the moment. Also I don’t want to confuse the situation by saying vastly different things from the official forecast and of course you should pay attention to that and plan accordingly. I’ll continue to tell you what I think is most likely to happen whatever.