Big Freeze back with more snow this week
JUST when you thought it was safe to go outside -- the Big Freeze is set to make a return with another wave of sub-zero temperatures, snow, ice, sleet and hail.
The Arctic conditions that have plagued the country, closed schools and halted many services are set to return at the end of the week, Met Eireann forecasters confirmed last night.
Temperatures will plummet to below zero and reach -5C in places with snow, sleet, hail and wintry showers predicted.
So enjoy the next few days while you can.
"On Thursday a band of rain moves down over the country from the north, behind that after the rain clears, it does become very cold," Met Eireann forecaster Gerry Murphy told the Irish Independent.
"There is a risk of snow with that colder air hitting on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mostly on the north and west of the country," he added.
Mr Murphy said he could not pinpoint exactly what parts of the country will be most affected but said it will become bitterly cold at the weekend in all areas and there will be wintry showers of rain, hail, sleet and snow.
He added that it is much too early to say if the harsh weather is here to stay, but said up until Tuesday it looks like being very cold, especially in the north. However, the next few days will see the thaw continuing and there will be a brief respite from the freezing cold during daytime from Monday to Wednesday.
It will be mostly dry up to and including Wednesday and temperatures for the first half of the week will be a balmy 7C, with some sunshine in the southwest of the country and a survivable 3C to 6C degrees elsewhere.
"The beginning of the week will see sharp frosts and the days will be quite cold but not exceptionally cold," Mr Murphy said.
Road users have been advised to continue to remain vigilant on the roads as black ice still lingers in sheltered spots and on bends and corners even after the thaw.
Roads in Co Donegal, mainly around the Donegal town and Ballyshannon areas were described by gardai as "like glass" yesterday and at least eight vehicles were involved in minor collisions.
A Garda spokesman said Donegal County Council gritters were not out overnight on Saturday but they were contacted by lunchtime yesterday and asked to grit a number of roads covered with black ice.
He added: "Luckily nobody was seriously injured although an elderly couple were given some medical assistance when they lost control of their car in a single-vehicle incident."