Roads salted ahead of heavy frosts – but snow to hold off
Published 01/12/2012 | 05:00
DRIVERS face icy roads as temperatures plummet below zero during the hours of darkness this weekend.
Major transport routes in Dublin were treated with salt overnight as temperatures were forecast to drop to -1 to -3C and even lower in some areas.
While the UK was bracing itself last night for snow, Met Eireann said Ireland will be spared any "major snow event" for the foreseeable future.
Most areas will experience frost and icy patches early today and tomorrow but it will remain dry and bright through the day.
The mercury will climb to between 5C and 8C before dropping back to below freezing overnight.
Tomorrow, rain will gradually move in from the west, bringing temperatures back up – hovering around 10C by the afternoon.
But temperatures will start to drop again on Monday, according to Met Eireann forecaster John Eagleton.
More rain coupled with westerly winds will make it feel much colder as the temperature hovers around 6-7C, he said. It will be cold overnight until midweek, with temperatures around zero and widespread frost.
Temperatures will dip to around 5C on Tuesday with rain in the west and the possibility of some sleet or snow flurries.
But a white Christmas, is unlikely, according to online forecasters Netweather.
Their long-term forecaster predicts Ireland will get very little snowfall in December.
Meteorologist Ian Michaelwaite said Ireland could expect a slightly colder-than-average winter, but stressed that milder temperatures in the last two weeks of December would probably eliminate any hopes of a white Christmas.
"Our forecasts obviously change on a daily basis and are constantly being updated, but at this point we're saying at best there's a 20pc chance of snow in Ireland over Christmas, while it's slightly higher in Northern Ireland at 30pc."
But Dublin City Council is taking no chances on a freeze-up. More than 2,700 metric tonnes of de-icing salt are stockpiled at six depots to treat about 300 km of road.
A weather contingency fund of €2m has been set aside.