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No let up for flood hit areas as rain and icy conditions forecast

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THERE will be some welcome relief from Atlantic storms over the coming week - but spells of bright sunshine will be accompanied by heavy wintry showers and a continued flood risk after the wettest February on record.

Met Éireann said while the coming week will see patches of spring sunshine, it will also be marked by some icy spells with temperatures plummeting to -3C in places.

The next five days will also see spells of showers, some of which will be quite heavy, which will maintain pressure on areas battling to hold back flood waters.

The Shannon is now almost two metres above its normal level. Defence Force units are working with Westmeath County Council staff to protect vulnerable businesses and homes.

Thousands of acres of farmland are now under water across south Leinster, Munster and Connacht, with the Suir, Nore, Barrow, Blackwater and Lee rivers bursting their banks in part.

Met Éireann's Joanna Donnelly said the coming days will feature an unsettled mix of sunshine, ice, frost and occasionally heavy, wintry showers.

"Tuesday will see any frost and ice slowly clear as temperatures rise to 5C to 7C from north to south," she said.

"There'll be isolated showers in the morning, becoming more frequent in the afternoon but gradually dying out in the evening."

However, temperatures will drop to -3C in some places tonight.

Tomorrow will be mostly dry with temperatures around 8C and some isolated showers, while Thursday and Friday will see increasing amounts of rain, some of which will be quite wintry.

Irish Independent