No end in sight as cold snap heads for -10C
Despite a temporary thaw, more hail, sleet and snow on the way
COMMUTERS across the State struggled to get to work yesterday as the Big Freeze gripped the country for a third day.
But despite a thaw in Dublin and across the east coast yesterday, Met Eireann last night warned that temperatures will plummet to -10C tonight and into tomorrow.
The majority of public transport services were running and most of the national road network remained open, but the west and midlands were worst hit by Arctic conditions.
Up to 65pc of all workers were late for work, a survey said, while hospitals recorded an increase in the number of people seeking treatment for minor injuries.
The Government's Emergency Taskforce warned that the cold snap was set to continue and asked motorists to avoid unnecessary journeys.
"Severe cold is predicted into next week, especially at night," national director Sean Hogan said. "Even where roads have been salted, there is a need to be extremely careful. It's very dangerous out there whether walking or driving.
"There's going to be more ice and snow. We're asking people to clear the snow from outside their premises and homes. Wear warm, sensible footwear and only undertake essential journeys," he added.
Despite warnings of a major dump of snow and resultant chaos, there was a widespread thaw across Dublin.
Bookmaker Paddy Power was offering even money that the cold snap would be gone by December 14.
"There's a lot of playful banter this morning that the meteorologists haven't a clue, but in fairness to Met Eireann it is very hard to predict what way our weather will go," a spokesman said.
"We are tipping a White Christmas this year but don't blame us if it doesn't happen ... blame the weathermen!"
Met Eireann said that parts of Dublin did get a lot of snow, but that warm air above Dublin Bay meant a lot fell as rain and sleet.
The N2 Dublin-Monaghan road was extremely dangerous between Collon and Ardee, while icy roads were reported around Castleblaney, Carrickmacross and Monaghan town. Secondary roads in Cavan were icy, while roads around Navan, Ashbourne and Trim in Meath were dangerous.
Some local Bus Eireann services were cancelled.
Roads in Wicklow were badly affected, particularly the N81 at Baltinglass and secondary roads around Arklow. The Sally Gap and Wicklow Gap were impassable.
Snow in Kildare resulted in dangerous driving conditions, and while a thaw set in from early yesterday in Dublin, parts of the city including Rathmines, Portmarnock and Malahide experienced black ice.
Fresh snow around Waterford and Kilkenny led to dangerous road conditions. Bin collections were cancelled in Waterford and Wexford, and only heavily-trafficked roads are being treated.
Snow drifts and ice-bound roads in Cork led to widespread disruption.
The Frankfield and Sarsfield roads in Cork city were temporarily blocked after lorries jack-knifed in the ice and snow.
Snowfall across north Clare yesterday morning ensured driving conditions were extremely hazardous. But Limerick city and county has escaped the worst of the weather.
Minor roads in Mayo were dangerous. Roads in Galway were extremely dangerous, with heavy snow falling across the city. Roads in Roscommon were passable with care.
Roads were treacherous, particularly the N15 Donegal to Ballybofey road at Barnesmore Gap.
Athlone was among the worst-affected towns after five inches of snow fell overnight.
Motorists have been urged to avoid unnecessary journeys because of icy conditions and fresh snow, particularly around Athlone and Mullingar.