Gardaí warn of 'treacherous road conditions' in some parts - as national snow and ice warning remains in place
*National weather warning remains in place *AA Roadwatch appeal to motorists to slow down *'Treacherous' road conditions in some counties
Fears of widespread disruption yesterday failed to materialise despite an Orange Status weather warning, as most of the country escaped significant snowfalls.
However, the Status Orange weather warning remains in place this morning in counties Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo as Met Eireann predict a cold and frosty morning with snow and ice.
Forecasters have also issued a Status Yellow warning for snow and ice for the rest of the country. Both warnings will remain in place until 6pm.
It is set to be a bright day, but the country can expect scattered wintry showers, occurring mostly along western coastal counties, and north-west strong and gusty winds.
Cold & frosty this morn., highs 4 or 5C. Bright day, sctd. wintry shwrs. occurring mostly along W coastal counties. NW strong gusty winds.— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) January 13, 2017
DONEGAL: Grainne's Gap between Muff and Buncrana remains impassable. https://t.co/qvBPcggiUy— AA Roadwatch (@aaroadwatch) January 13, 2017
AA Roadwatch have issued comprehensive advice to motorists for the bad weather.
"Use major routes where possible - these are more likely to have been gritted," the road-watch crew wrote.
"Give yourself time to de-ice your car. Stopping istances are 10x longer in ice and snow.
"Gentle manoeuvres are the key to safe driving. If you skid, reduce acceleration and gears."
Ireland has dodged the brunt of the bad weather, however, with the UK on high alert for life-threatening floods.
In Donegal, AA Roadwatch were reporting Grainne's Gap between Muff and Buncrana to be impassable.
The Harry Blaney Bridge over Mulroy Bay is also closed today due to weather conditions.
Gardaí in Monaghan Town were reporting "treacherous conditions" on all roads this morning but the ice has since cleared.
It was also icy in Cavan, Meath, Kerry and Leitrim.
In Wicklow, a collision on the M11 Dublin to Wexford road on the southbound lane caused traffic delays but it has since been cleared.
Yesterday, parts of the west and north west did see snow showers at dawn which added up to half an hour to the morning school run.
Services to Illistrin National School outside Letterkenny, Co Donegal, were withdrawn as a precaution but apart from half a dozen minor traffic incidents, gardaí said there had been little impact from the weather.
The Errigal road between Gaoth Dobhair in west Donegal and Termon was passable with care and there were difficult driving conditions in more rural areas of Inishowen and in the Finn Valley.
With road conditions poor in parts of Ulster, Connacht and Munster, we have some good advice... pic.twitter.com/HBumkD20Ld— AA Roadwatch (@aaroadwatch) January 12, 2017
CAVAN: Icy on secondary roads around Cavan Town. Snow and ice; Ballyconnell, Bailieboro, Kingscourt, Shercock, Virginia and Lavey. theAA.ie— AA Roadwatch (@aaroadwatch) January 13, 2017
DONEGAL: Harry Blaney Bridge over Mulroy Bay is closed at present due to weather conditions. https://t.co/qvBPcggiUy— AA Roadwatch (@aaroadwatch) January 13, 2017
LEITRIM: It's icy on the N16 Sligo/ Enniskillen Rd at Glencar so extreme caution is needed. https://t.co/qvBPcggiUy— AA Roadwatch (@aaroadwatch) January 13, 2017
Further south, there was so little disruption that Sligo County Council cancelled a planned emergency weather response meeting yesterday morning.
There were also snow showers in other elevated areas in Mayo, Galway, Clare, Cork and Limerick, with sleet and rain reported elsewhere.
Particular caution was urged on roads in north Cork near the foothills of the Galtee Mountains and along sections of the N20 Cork-Limerick road.
Snow showers also hit Kerry with areas of higher ground, including the Conor Pass, worst affected.
Charleville witnessed some of the earliest and heaviest snow flurries in Munster but council officials acknowledged that last night's overnight freeze was their greater concern.
Met Éireann forecaster Joan Blackburn said the "real danger" to motorists would be last night and into this morning.
"We were only ever talking about snow showers (as opposed to continuous snow)," she said.
"These can hit almost anywhere so all areas are at risk of wintry showers."
She said any remaining snow showers would be confined to higher areas in the west and north west today, falling as rain or sleet at lower levels.
It will remain cold and blustery with afternoon temperatures today of between 3C and 6C.
It will turn cold and frosty after dark this evening with icy patches on untreated roads and temperatures of between -2C and 2C.
Temperatures in Atlantic coastal counties will rise later in the night however and it will be coldest in the east of the country.
Any frost will clear early tomorrow with sunny spells and scattered passing showers of rain and drizzle.
By tomorrow afternoon, temperatures will rise to between 6C and 9C and it will be mild and misty overnight into Sunday.
Rain on Sunday will be persistent over eastern and northern counties with scattered showers elsewhere and a top temperature of around 11C.
"Things will improve from Saturday onwards as Atlantic weather takes hold again," said Ms Blackburn.
Monday temperatures will range from 6C to 10C. Cold, dry weather will return on Tuesday leading to frost at night.
UK weather chaos
Britain is on weather alert as people prepare for the worst, with warnings of floods, wind, snow and ice covering vast swathes of the UK.
Lives could be at risk as severe flood warnings are in place for parts of the east coast with residents urged to evacuate from their homes.
Elsewhere, the Met Office has issued severe weather warnings across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for combinations of high winds, snow and ice.
The Environment Agency's seven severe flood warnings - which warn of a danger to life - are in place for Friday lunchtime in coastal areas of Essex and Suffolk in the face of gale-force winds and high tides, while dozens of flood warnings have been imposed as the east coast braces itself for a storm surge.
The warnings take in Clacton to Lee Wick, West Mersea, The Strood and adjacent marshland, and Tidal River Stour at Mistley, including the Quay and The Walls, all in Essex.
Coastal communities in Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex have been told they should be prepared for large waves and possible flooding.
Emergency services were putting an evacuation plan into action in Jaywick, near Clacton-on-Sea, with police officers going door-to-door informing residents of the evacuation, which is beginning at 7am on Friday.
The Ministry of Defence said about 100 soldiers from the Catterick army base have been deployed to Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast where about 3,000 residents have been urged to leave their homes or move upstairs.
Suffolk Police said specific areas of the coast had been identified as being at high risk of flooding - taking in around 1,100 properties which are likely to be evacuated.
At around midday on Friday, the Environment Agency is anticipating severe flooding in Felixstowe Ferry and Bawdsey Quay, Felixstowe Ferry Hamlet and the Deben Marshes, isolated riverside properties on the Deben Estuary, and Tidal Orwell at Ipswich Quay.
At around 9pm there is severe flooding anticipated in Lowestoft seafront and docks, the north bank of Lake Lothing, Oulton Broad near Mutford Lock, Snape, Iken and surrounding marshland, and Southwold and surrounding marshes.
Norfolk Police has said floods are a strong possibility in the region, and the force is anticipating the worst to be in Yarmouth, Walcott, King's Lynn, Salthouse and Wells, between 7am and 10am, and 8pm to 10pm on Friday.
Mark Sitton-Kent, national duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: "Gale-force winds and high tides are likely to create large and dangerous waves along parts of the east coast on Friday and Saturday.
"These conditions could also cause flooding to coastal roads and could impact properties.
"We understand that powerful tides can be dramatic, but please do not put yourself at unnecessary risk by going to the coast for a thrill or to take pictures. Please do not drive through flood water: just 30cm of flowing water is enough to move your car.
"We are prepared to take action wherever it is needed. We have moved resources and equipment to the coast and the Army is on standby to assist if needed."
Tidal gates on the east coast have been closed ahead of the high tides.
On Thursday, driving snow and high winds hit large parts of the country, disrupting travel and closing schools.
Heavy snow was lying across Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of England.
Floods minister Therese Coffey said: "Our absolute priority is protecting lives, homes and businesses from the threat of coastal flooding currently facing the east coast.
"That is why we have soldiers on the ground helping to warn and evacuate people alongside the emergency services and Environment Agency teams, who are putting up temporary defences.
"We're working closely across government to monitor the situation as it develops and I ask people to check their flood risk, keep a close eye on updates and follow any advice from the Environment Agency and the emergency services."
There are fears that the weather conditions may also badly affect Tube and train services.
Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said: "A combination of staffing and maintenance cuts means that rail and Tube services are running on a knife edge at the best of times.
"Any adverse weather conditions are almost guaranteed to tip us over that edge."
Temperatures plummeted with readings of minus 2C in parts of the East and South East during the early hours of Friday, according to the Met Office.
Two lorries jack-knifed in the icy conditions causing closures on the A23 in Handcross, West Sussex, and the M20 in Kent.
(Additional reporting: PA)