Commuters warned of black ice and snow as temperatures plummet and wet roads freeze over
Wrap up warm and be wary, say gardaí
Motorists are being warned to expect a miserable day as snow and ice overnight is expected to cause delays.
The AA has warned the arrival of the first blast of wintry weather will lead to increased breakdowns - adding further to the misery of drivers.
Council gritting lorries were deployed across the country last night as temperatures plunged and wet roads were frozen over.
Met Éireann warned of snow in many areas, particularly over Leinster, the Midlands and north-west.
DONEGAL: Gardai warning of icy conditions on the Termon/ Gwedoore Rd (R251/ Back of Errigal). Extreme care needed. https://t.co/qvBPcgxUj8— AA Roadwatch (@aaroadwatch) November 18, 2016
FROST: We're seeing the first official road frost of the winter! RIP Autumn. https://t.co/xIOpAblVS1— AA Roadwatch (@aaroadwatch) November 18, 2016
Weather warning. Widespread frost expected overnight so please drive with caution. Also heavy showers expected.— An Garda Síochána (@GardaTraffic) November 17, 2016
Snow in Dublin yesterday morning didn't create any major difficulties, with AA Ireland reporting delays in the capital were down to the build-up of traffic. Heavier snow was reported in Offaly, Kildare, Wicklow, Wexford, Meath and Westmeath.
By nightfall the first snowfalls in Donegal were expected to drop up to 7cm in areas above 300m.
Gardai this morning have warned of icy conditions on the Termon to Gewdoore Road and said "extreme care" is needed.
Gardai are reporting three inches of slush around Sligo town.
They are also reporting black ice on the M8 Cork-Dublin road at Watergrasshill, Mitchelstown and Fermoy. Drivers are advised to take care.
Meanwhile, there are reports of a collision on the Letterkenny/ Derry Rd at Nixons Corner and gardaí have warned drivers to expect delays.
The AA warned of a "surge" in car breakdowns - and possible delays on major routes over the next few days.
The motoring organisation urged people to have their vehicles serviced.
It said battery faults were very common in winter because of the way that low temperatures affected them and because of increased demands on a car's electrics.
But wet or icy roads and more hours of darkness mean that in an emergency, worn or damaged tyres can be lethal.
Research carried out by the Road Safety Authority earlier this year found that defective tyres are a contributory factor in 9pc of fatal road traffic incidents.
"A quarter of all breakdowns are electrical and batteries cause more AA call-outs than anything else," said AA Ireland's Conor Faughnan.
Met Éireann forecaster Helen Curran warned of another sharp frost overnight tonight - but a calm and clear, if bitterly cold weekend ahead.
"It is going to be very cold this weekend and into early next week as well with frost and ice, particularly at night," she said.
The nights will be very cold with widespread severe frost on Saturday and Sunday and daytime temperatures of 4C.
Meanwhile in the UK, a number of tornadoes have struck parts of Wales and the Midlands.
Locals reported damages to buildings and cars as winds of up to 94mph have been recorded in parts of Wales.
BBC reports that the Met Office has now issued a yellow severe weather warning of very strong winds in the UK.