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Independent.ie

Monday 18 February 2019

Forecasters warn of significant snow-fall as temperatures plunge to -5C

  • Temperature of -5.8C recorded at Dublin Airport this morning
  • Motorists warned to take care on roads as snow affects road conditions in west of Ireland
Mairtín Doherty clears snow from his home in Charlestown, Co Mayo, after a heavy fall overnight. Picture: Paul Mealey
Mairtín Doherty clears snow from his home in Charlestown, Co Mayo, after a heavy fall overnight. Picture: Paul Mealey
Blarney Castle looked picturesque in a blanket of white
Fatoma Bartolomeu, from Venezuela, out hiking in the snow in the Dublin Mountains. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mairtín Doherty digs his way out from his home in Charlestown, Co Mayo, after heavy snow overnight. Photo: Paul Mealey

Ian Begley and Rachel Farrell

Forecasters have warned that most part of the country will be hit by significant levels of snow from early today.

A status yellow warning for snow and ice remains in place for Ireland until Saturday, with showers of hail, sleet and snow forecast.

Today will see widespread outbreaks of heavy rain spreading in a north-easterly direction. However, Met Éireann said these showers would turn to sleet or snow as the day progresses.

The snow is likely to be heaviest over much of Munster and south Leinster, with the forecaster warning of some "significant accumulations" in places.

AA Roadwatch says snow is starting to affect road conditions in parts of Roscommon and east Mayo, urging motorists to take care.

Meteorologist Vincent O'Shea said the snow would be predominantly confined to higher ground, but there was a risk that some inland areas would also be affected.

Fatoma Bartolomeu, from Venezuela, out hiking in the snow in the Dublin Mountains. Photo: Tony Gavin
Fatoma Bartolomeu, from Venezuela, out hiking in the snow in the Dublin Mountains. Photo: Tony Gavin

"There will be heavy rain for many parts of the south, but it's likely that it will turn to sleet or snow as the day progresses.

"We're now concerned that there will be parts of Leinster and Munster especially that will have low levels of snow," he added.

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The band of weather will clear southwards later in the evening, with overnight temperatures between -2C and -5C.

The Department of Education told the Irish Independent a number of schools closed yesterday, but that it was up to each school to decide whether it needed to close due to the severity of the weather.

Blarney Castle looked picturesque in a blanket of white
Blarney Castle looked picturesque in a blanket of white

"The decision to close a school is to be taken at a local level by the individual school principal or board of management in the interests of child safety, having assessed the local risks and having consulted, as appropriate, with school transport operators," said a spokesperson.

Bus Éireann confirmed several routes were affected yesterday due to the weather and apologised to customers.

Tomorrow is expected is be significantly drier with spells of sunshine.

However, Met Éireann predicts tomorrow night will be "bitterly cold" as temperatures fall to -4C, with a severe frost and icy conditions.

Some sunny weather is expected on Saturday morning. But the frost and ice will return once again later that night.

"There will be a widespread severe frost overnight, with icy roads and some freezing fog can be expected also," the forecaster warned.

With a weather warning in place until Saturday afternoon, Inner City Helping Homeless reported there were no available beds in the freephone system as of 11.30pm on Tuesday.

CEO of the charity Anthony Flynn said this was in "complete contrast" to the comments made by Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy in the Dáil on Tuesday that there was a bed available for everyone.

"In some cases, it isn't an actual bed but a yoga mat and sleeping bag on the floor of an existing hostel," said Mr Flynn.

"Our teams [on Tuesday] night made four attempts to secure accommodation for people they met on their nightly routes around Dublin only to be told that there wasn't any beds available."

He said the charity's outreach teams assisted 86 people over the course of Tuesday night, 70 men and 16 women.

"With snow forecast this week we have grave concerns for the safety of people sleeping rough around the country," he said.

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) said it had activated its extreme weather protocol in response to the cold weather.

It said that extra beds were ready for use for the duration of the yellow weather warning, and that these beds were in addition to the more than 250 beds that became available in 2018.

Roads

AA Roadwatch warned drivers to take care on roads today. Road conditions are wet this morning in Cork City, Waterford City and Tralee, while icy conditions have been reported on secondary routes around Thurles and Letterkenny.

In Wicklow, the Old Military Rd (R115) remains closed between Glencree and Sally Gap due to icy conditions. Gardai are also advising motorists to avoid the Sally Gap Rd (R759) but the Wicklow Gap is open.

Irish Independent





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