Status Yellow snow-ice warning issued as temperatures plunge to -1C
Easter weather is set to prove a wild mix of sunshine, showers and blustery winds - though Ireland will first have to endure a return to frost and even some snow.
Met Éireann warned that Ireland will bid farewell to the spell of recent warm sunshine as April opens with a dip in temperatures and some heavy wintry showers - and even a risk of snow flurries across higher ground.
A 'Status Yellow' snow-ice warning has been issued for Connacht, Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Longford and Louth from midnight tonight until 12pm on Wednesday.
Lying snow will be below 250 meters in some places with icy patches to be expected, Met Éireann confirmed.
"Falls of hail and sleet will occur with snow accumulations mainly on high ground," they said.
Forecaster Michelle Dillon said the dramatic dip in temperatures was due to a polar air mass moving over Ireland from the icy north. This will heavily influence Irish weather for the coming days.
"It will turn very cold and many areas will see some frost," she said.
Some areas of higher ground may even see some light snow flurries. The icy air mass will also see Ireland record a dramatic 9C drop in daytime temperatures in the space of just over a week from a balmy 17C down to a chilly 8C.
The medium range forecast is for a mix of sunshine, cloudy conditions and heavy showers in the build-up to Easter.
However, the week before Easter is likely to offer the best weather of the month, with temperatures likely climbing to 12C and many areas enjoying good spells of sunshine.
Met Éireann warned it would be much colder from today with overnight temperatures sinking to between zero and 3C in many areas. There will be a risk of a ground frost in many areas, particularly along higher ground. These areas, particularly near inland or northern areas, may also experience some light snow flurries.
The next four days will see limited spells of sunshine, but widespread and occasionally heavy showers.
It will turn particularly cold on Wednesday and overnight temperatures could sink to as low as -1C in some areas with a heavy frost forecast. The warmest daytime temperatures will only reach 7C or 8C.
But the good news is that from April 10, Ireland is likely to enjoy a week of good sunshine limited only by spells of cloud cover.
Top temperatures will be 11C to 12C in the run-up to Easter.
However, Easter weekend will mirror April's weather with a mix of sunshine, showers and cloud cover.
Easter Saturday is set to feature the heaviest of the forecast showers. However, Easter Monday could boast the best sunshine of the entire long weekend.
Meanwhile, motorists are being urged to drive with care given the wildly varying conditions over the coming days.
Gardaí and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) are asking drivers, given the predictions of morning frost and possibly even snow, to slow down and allow extra time for any journeys, particularly during the morning commute.
Motorists were also urged to increase the space to vehicles travelling ahead to maximise potential braking distance.
Given the risk of potentially heavy showers, people were also warned to exercise caution near waterways. Irish Water Safety stressed that heavy rainfall can quite quickly transform streams or rivers into potentially dangerous torrents.