Flooding fears ahead of dramatic change in weather
THE country is bracing itself for a dramatic 21-degree temperature swing from -13C to +8C in the next 36 hours, bringing the threat of spot flooding in some places.
Despite a forecast for an improvement in weather conditions nationwide, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) is warning motorists that road conditions will continue to be treacherous in most parts of the country.
Noel Brett, chief executive of Road Safety Authority, repeated his plea for road-users to take extreme care in these conditions: "There is a danger that road-users and particularly motorists will be lulled into a false sense of security as conditions improve after the recent freezing conditions. Roads right across the country will remain extremely dangerous with lingering patches of snow and ice posing serious risks for all road-users.
"The expected thaw will present even more challenges for all road-users.
"The main danger will be from melting snow and ice, and rain which has been forecast. Slush will build up on the roads and they will become very wet.
"Met Eireann is warning of a risk of localised flooding. Combined with grit on the roads there will be an increased risk of skidding and aquaplaning. Our advice to motorists is to continue to drive with extreme caution -- don't assume that because the weather is improving, the road conditions are also improving. They're not, so please drive with care. We would also appeal to pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists to take extra care when using the roads."
Today will begin dry in the east but less cold weather with rain and strong winds will spread from the west to all parts during the day.
The rain may be preceded by snow over parts of the north and over high ground, but a gradual thaw will occur elsewhere with the risk of spot flooding. Highest temperatures will be 3 to 8 degrees in most areas. Tonight will be overcast wet and windy, though noticeably less cold.
Rain will be heavy with strong southerly winds and may cause flooding due to rapid thawing of snow. Rain will clear to showers tomorrow morning and winds will ease at least for a while and temperatures will have recovered to near normal by then. More rain and freshening south-east winds will spread countrywide during tomorrow night, before clearing yet again to heavy showers for Tuesday.
Then mainly dry cold weather will return on Wednesday. While temperatures won't be quite as low as recent times, chilly easterly winds will set in and night frosts will be sharp.
On Christmas Day, the Army was transporting healthcare professionals to medical facilities in Dublin and Cork, the midlands and the west of the country.
Patients were also being transported to Dublin from Cork and the midlands for ongoing treatment, and a meals-on-wheels service was provided to the elderly and housebound in a number of locations around the country.
Low temperatures in the Dublin area overnight caused water valves in Fairview to freeze on Christmas morning. There were also reports of water outages in parts of west Galway yesterday.