Sunday 28 May 2017

Drivers warned to reduce speed and take care as Arctic chill to push mercury below -5C

Along with frigid temperatures, significant snowfalls are expected in the north and north-west Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Along with frigid temperatures, significant snowfalls are expected in the north and north-west Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Catherine Devine and Allison Bray

The country is bracing itself for an Arctic blast that could bring snow, ice and freezing temperatures as a polar front from Iceland settles over the country later this week.

Drivers are being warned to reduce their speed as extreme winter conditions are expected to hit Ireland late tomorrow.

Met Éireann forecaster Deirdre Lowe said the front from Iceland would bring hail, sleet and snow showers to the north and north-west by tomorrow night that would see overnight temperatures plummet to as low as -5C in some areas.

By Thursday, daytime temperatures would not exceed single digits - a pattern that was expected to last through the weekend before warming early next week, she said.

Along with frigid temperatures and bitterly cold winds giving blizzard-like conditions, significant snowfalls are expected in the north and north-west.

However, "all parts" of the country "are at risk" of accumulations of between 3cm and 5cm and more on higher ground.

But this "nasty snap of weather" would not be anything like the deep freeze that led to more than a dozen deaths on the continent at the weekend due to sub-zero temperatures, she said.

Dublin Airport was "ready to rock" with a large contingent of snow-clearing equipment, said spokeswoman Siobhán O'Donnell.

Emergency

"Our snow and ice equipment is rolled out and placed in strategic locations on the airfield should the snow arrive."

The airport also has 230 contractors on stand-by for snow and ice removal if needed.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland has stockpiled more than 203,500 tonnes of salt, which has been "strategically" distributed to local authorities around the country should it be needed to salt roads and footpaths.

"Local authorities have winter maintenance plans in place for the coming winter, aimed at keeping our national and strategic routes open should severe weather occur," a spokesman said.

Local authorities have also developed their own winter emergency contingency plans.

Local councils in Donegal, Galway and Cork, which could be in the crossfire of the wintry blast, said they were prepared with supplies of salt and snow-removal equipment.

But Dublin City Council, which came under fire for being unprepared to deal with ice-covered roads and footpaths that brought the capital to a standstill in 2010/11, was unable to say what contingency plans it had in place by the time of going to print last night.

But the Office of Emergency Planning said it was ready to convene its National Emergency Co-ordination Group with every local authority if the situation warranted it. But that would only be in the event of an extreme weather emergency.

A couple takes a selfie in the Sultanahmet district, one of Istanbul's main tourist attractions, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. (AP Photos/Emrah Gurel)
A couple takes a selfie in the Sultanahmet district, one of Istanbul's main tourist attractions, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. (AP Photos/Emrah Gurel)
A couple walk under an umbrella during snowfall in a park in Istanbul, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. Heavy snow clogged roads, and Turkish Airlines on Monday canceled 277 domestic and international flights to and from Istanbul's two airports due to heavy snow. (AP Photos/Emrah Gurel)
A dog walks on a snow-covered beach during snowfall in Kymi village on the island of Evia, central Greece, on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. (0 degrees Fahrenheit). (InTime News via AP)
A man walks along a snow covered road in Sarajevo, Bosnia on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. Extremely cold weather continued in most of Eastern Europe, with snow blizzards and dangerously low temperatures. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)
Children in inflatable rings slide down a snow slope near Red Square with the historical Metropol Hotel in the background in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, as the temperature had plunged to minus -21 Celsius (minus-6 F) . (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
A girl is seen through an icy window on a tram, on a cold day in Sarajevo, Bosnia on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. Extremely cold weather continued in most of Eastern Europe, with snow blizzards and dangerously low temperatures. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)
Cars make their way through the snow in Bikfaya, Lebanon January 9, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
An LTD field supervisor works to get a bus moving after it became stuck near Harris Street in Eugene. Ore. Monday Jan. 9. 2017. (Andy Nelson/The Register-Guard via AP)
Snow covers a statue of the Virgin Mary in Bikfaya, Lebanon January 9, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
A local villager fishes in the frozen banks of the Mirusha waterfalls near the village of Lapceve on Monday, Jan 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

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