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Wednesday 24 January 2018

Tread with care, as snow and ice return

John Duignan tends his stock in Geevagh Co. Sligo.
Photo: Brian Farrell
John Duignan tends his stock in Geevagh Co. Sligo. Photo: Brian Farrell
Fingal County Council salting the roads. Photo: Mark Condren
A juvenile seagull standing on the ice-covered pond at St Stephens Green in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Frank McGrath
Robert Byrne loading Fingal County Council trucks for salting the roads. Photo: Mark Condren
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

Snow is expected to blanket large parts of the country overnight, making conditions treacherous for early morning commuters.

Met Éireann has issued a yellow alert for ice and snow right across the country, spreading from the West last night.

It warned that Ulster, north Leinster and parts of east Connacht were most likely to get snow.

The alert will remain in place until 11am today as the cold snap continues.

Late last night Met Eireann automatic weather stations had already registered snowfalls in Mullingar and at Knock Airport.

Temperatures dropped to -2C in the east and north overnight, leading to frost and icy patches on roads.

Further icy patches were expected to hit the west around dawn.

A band of rain and sleet made its way across the country, turning to snow as it encountered cold air further east and north this morning.

Joan Blackburn, forecaster with Met Éireann, said it is hoped the worst of the snow would remain on higher ground - but warned it could yet have an impact in towns and cities.

"While we expect snow it should mostly affect higher areas. There will be sleety, wet snow expected on lower ground but it should clear as it goes east.

"But rush hour traffic will not be the most pleasant this morning," she said.

Ireland has at least avoided the icy blast which brought temperatures in parts of Scotland as low as -12C yesterday.

Warning

Ms Blackburn described the upcoming weather as a "borderline situation" caused by a wet system coming in along the west coast and hitting colder air in the east.

"We have a yellow weather warning in place for parts of Ulster, Connacht and Leinster.

"It's for up to 3cm of snow - which is difficult enough to cause some disruption, but not copious amounts," she added.

Gardai have urged motorists to exercise caution on the roads.

Chief Superintendent Michael O'Sullivan of the Garda National Traffic Bureau is also warning motorists to have sunglasses in their car to ensure they can see cyclists and pedestrians when driving against the sun.

While motorists are being warned to take precautions, the ice and snow is not expected to reach the levels seen in recent weeks.

Schools are not expected to face widespread closures today.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said it had no plans to issue a central directive to schools on closures.

"The decision will be taken at a local level depending on the circumstances," she added.

And the weather is expected to improve over the course of the week. Milder conditions are expected to spread from the west over the course of this afternoon with temperatures rising. Tomorrow and Thursday are expected to be cool, bright days with only occasional showers.

Temperatures will rise to up to 8C or 9C on the south-west and west coasts, dropping at night to -3C in central and eastern parts of the country with some frost and icy patches forming.

More normal daytime temperatures are expected for Friday and the weekend, with the mildest temperatures set for next Monday.

"We'd expect a return to normal temperatures at the end of the week. It will remain cold but not as winterish as we've been seeing," added Ms Blackburn.

Irish Independent

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