Schools out as roads freeze, but spell of warmer weather on way
A week of cold temperatures stalled openings at dozens of schools around Ireland, as roads remain treacherous and frozen.
The south and north of the island have been hit hardest by the arctic blast, with serious disruption in parts of Cork.
Gardaí and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) warned that the icy conditions may persist for several days.
Rainfall in the early hours of the morning yesterday froze on roads leaving many covered in black ice.
Schools in Cork agreed to facilitate parents in light of travel chaos over icy roads and delayed classroom starts in a bid to allow families extra time given the treacherous conditions.
At the height of the morning rush hour, more than 30 bus routes were either suspended or cancelled throughout Cork city and county.
One bus collided with two cars on the outskirts of Cork city due to severe ice. Bus services only resumed after the thaw and black ice also resulted in severe traffic tailbacks.
Gardaí also appealed to motorists to drive with extreme caution, particularly on secondary roads or routes through housing estates which may not have been gritted. Roads in Tipperary and Limerick were also hit by ice.
More than 20 schools in Cavan closed yesterday, giving students some reason to celebrate. A number of schools in Longford also remained closed due to snowfall in the area.
Kerry avoided the worst of the Siberian road conditions though some routes on higher areas were described as quite hazardous.
Meanwhile, drivers in the Midlands have been urged to exercise caution as roads remain slippy due to ice, frost and snow in places.
One person was injured after their car skidded outside Longford town, and they were later taken to Mullingar Regional Hospital. The cold snap is set to continue over the weekend, but an approaching band of cloud will bring some increase in temperatures.
Aoife Murray, forecaster with Met Éireann, said values will plunge as low as -5C over night.
Tonight is set to be slightly warmer, although temperatures climb to just 1C in some places.
While unsettled weather is expected from Sunday, Met Éireann does not expect the same extreme conditions of last month.
And heading into next week, temperatures are expected to creep back up to double figures again, at least during daytime.
The mercury will reach up to 11C by Tuesday or Wednesday.