Ice will linger until next week despite a rise in temperatures
THE end of the big freeze is in sight, but it will take until early next week before the ground thaws and 'normal' December weather returns.
Met Eireann said yesterday that a gradual thaw over the coming days would see temperatures reaching up to 8C during the days, and that most of the snow and ice should be gone by the weekend.
"We expect the severe cold of Wednesday to be the last," said forecaster Gerard Fleming.
"We're confident the weather will get less cold from Thursday to Sunday. Daytime temperatures will reach 6C to 8C, and it should be 1C or 2C at night. This less cold weather will last into Monday and Tuesday, then it's back to standard winter weather. We don't expect snow in the coming days."
Most public transport services were operating yesterday, with some diversions, but a sheet of ice covering the Luas tracks at Connolly Station in Dublin kept the stop closed.
"The snow has accumulated into one sheet of ice," a Luas spokeswoman said. "It's not thawing sufficiently, and it's more than likely going to move as a block. Until it thaws, the stop will be closed."
Road conditions remained dangerous in many parts of the country, and gritters were out.
But while drivers and pedestrians can finally look forward to an eventual thaw, many main and back roads will remain icy and dangerous for some days.
Road conditions have improved, but council workers are still out gritting the roads. However, the AA warned that many routes remained treacherous and said motorists should drive with extreme caution.
Extreme care urged on the N4 Dublin to Sligo road from Mullingar to Longford, where motorists reported icy roads.
Dangerous on the M6 from Kinnegad to Athlone.
While the roads were treated, drivers are urged not to overtake.
Generally, very poor conditions, but especially bad around Navan, Longwood and Slane. N51 Navan/Slane road very icy. Very icy on the M2 and on most roads around Ashbourne.
The N2 Dublin to Monaghan Road remained treacherous from Collon to Slane, and from Rath to Kilmoon Cross.
Roads particularly bad in parts of Kilkenny and Wicklow with ice. Wicklow Gap and the Sally Gap impassable.
In Carlow snow and ice started to melt but roads and footpaths remained hazardous. Black ice in Enniscorthy and New Ross in Co Wexford.
Road conditions improved dramatically in Cork but ice patches remain in some sheltered areas. Icy conditions in Glanmire, Kilworth, Mitchelstown, Bantry, Rosscarbery, Coppeen and Skibbereen. Risk of limited flooding.
Spreading of salt on main routes only and grit on secondary and local roads.
Warning of black ice on back roads.
A salting programme is in place on all major routes as temperatures dipped to -9C in some areas of Limerick and Tipperary.
Roads in the east of Co Mayo, especially back roads, were icy, while secondary roads around Castlebar and in the Geevagh and Castlebaldwin areas of Co Sligo were treacherous. The Ballina to Sligo N59 has dangerous patches of black ice.
The main route linking west Donegal with Letterkenny remained closed. Dangerous icy stretches on the Errigal road from Gweedore to Letterkenny.