The following is an excerpt from an article in Ireland’s Own magazine ( No. 5531, January 8, 2016) by Martin Sweeney.
On 24th February 1947, Co. Mayo and most of the country came to a standstill with a blizzard. Around then, I became interested in meteorology and began recording the weather with a few instruments.
In 1957 and in 1963, I had a rainfall station for Met Eireann and later they upgraded my station to a climate station. I have a half century of records. In this article I’m going to concentrate on one severe weather event from my record, The week the Moy froze.
During the last week of November 2010, there was a change in the pressure systems. The semi-permanent Azores high declined and high pressure built over Greenland, pushing down an Arctic air mass. On November 27th, there was a snowfall which was very unusual so early in the winter.
The first two weeks of December remained very cold, with frost at night. The wintry showers turned to ice on the ground with layers of ice known as glazed ice. Dozens of people in Mayo slipped on this ice and were admitted to hospital with fractures.
On December 16th, a very cold Arctic airmass with heavy snow showers moved south with a snowfall of five inches.
On the 18th, the wind veered to the east and heavy snow showers fell in the south east, along the Irish Sea.
In the West the sky became calm and clear. Conditions were now perfect for a deep freeze. The air temperature fell below zero on Friday evening (17th) and did not rise above zero until midnight on the 25th. Seven consecutive days of freezing. There were four nights with the minimum air temperature 0 or below minus 16.
On Christmas morning, the air minimum was minus 17.5 degrees. This was the coldest December in Met Eireann records. It was now a major problem, with water pipes frozen outside and inside some houses and farm buildings and there was considerable ice and damage.
The river Moy was frozen over with 6 inches of ice and all the tree branches along the banks were now embedded in the ice.
On St. Stephen’s Day, 13mm of rain fell and the temperature was several degrees above freezing. The river Moy rose several feet and the ice broke.
On the 27th December, I observed from Ballylahan bridge, about 70 per cent of the Moy covered with thick ice with the branches of many trees on them. It was similar to the spring thaw of rivers in Lapland or Canada.
At the bridge in Foxford, the view of the ice flows was similar. I think it was a sight I, or many Mayo residents will never forget. A video of the frozen Moy can be seen on youtube.
Hopefully we won’t get another winter like it.
Source, Martin Sweeney