Sunday 25 June 2017

Winter chill to bring snow, rain and sub-zero temperatures for weekend

Freezing temperatures could cause snow to fall this weekend Photo: Depositphotos
Freezing temperatures could cause snow to fall this weekend Photo: Depositphotos

Patrick Kelleher

Snow, rain and freezing temperatures will hit the country this weekend, leading to treacherous conditions as the winter chill continues to worsen.

Freezing temperatures seen over the past few days will continue over the weekend, with the mercury today set to get to just 6C maximum.

Gardai have warned people to be careful on the country's roads as AARoadwatch report "icy conditions" in many parts of the country this morning, especially on secondary routes.

"Allow extra time for journeys," they noted.

Slippery road conditions have already been reported this morning around Tullamore, Carrick-on-Shannon, and Navan.

The icy conditions will continue into next week, with little change expected until next Sunday at the earliest.

Temperatures will hit zero in most parts of the country overnight, with some places hitting as low as -2C.

The freezing conditions could cause snow to hit the east coast tonight and tomorrow morning as temperatures continue to plummet.

The combination of rain and snow in some places could lead to black ice on the roads, meaning motorists will have to take extra care this weekend when travelling.

Tomorrow will be predominantly dry, although some areas along the east coast may be hit by snow early in the morning.

The cold temperatures will continue into next week, with temperatures unlikely to go higher than 7C, with daytime lows of 5C expected in the west and north-west.

Dangerous

Temperatures will continue to plunge at night, with widespread frost and ice forecast for much of the country next week, leading to dangerous driving conditions.

Drivers will also have to be especially vigilant of black ice and frost this weekend and into next week, as the roads are likely to be dangerous.

A spokesperson from the AA advised drivers to take care on the roads as the weather worsens this weekend.

"The most dangerous time is in the evenings when people are going home," he said.

"They may not anticipate the change in road conditions until they run into it.

"Normally the rule of thumb is that when you get a sudden change in weather, it takes about an hour for the drivers to realise that the roads are a dangerous place and they start to leave more space between them and the cars in front.

"In the morning people will be ready for it because they'll find that it's wintry and the place is covered in frost."

The AA's advice for drivers is to "get into the winter mindset as quickly as possible".

"The vast majority of drivers will already have experienced this kind of weather, and they need to remember what they learned the last time and they need to remember it quickly.

Reckless

"One of the key principles of staying safe is first of all to have a good idea of what's happening with the weather outside, either by looking at your mobile phone or listening to the radio.

"The second one is careful driving, so if you do make a mistake that you have a better chance of avoiding anything nasty.

"The last thing is leave more space between you and the car in front."

He also said that accidents cause hold-ups on the road, which lead other drivers to become impatient and can lead to reckless activity.

How to stay safe

- Road safety: Stay vigilant of icy road conditions, and avoid making unnecessary journeys in snow or freezing temperatures. Use public transport where possible and avoid driving late at night.

- Car service: Get your car serviced and make sure it is ready for the icy conditions over the coming months. A service will make sure your car is in top health and will make your winter journeys safer.

- Health: Get your winter flu vaccination to stay safe and healthy this winter. Be aware of any illnesses that are going around and see your doctor if you have any doubts.

- The Home: Keep your home warm and insulated and make sure you have vital supplies such as food and medication in case of bad weather.

- The elderly: Avoid leaving the house in dangerous weather. People are advised to look out for their elderly neighbours this winter.

Irish Independent

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