Icy roads warning as temperatures tumble

Michael Lavery

SNOW, ice and sleet were due to hit Dublin today as new Arctic conditions threatened to turn roads into "sheets of ice" over the next 48 hours.

The north west was coldest today with temperatures of -6.7C in Co Sligo and -7.9C in Co Monaghan.

A band of rain and snow moved northwards today across Munster, Leinster and east Ulster with some disruptions due to snow but it would turn generally to heavy rain in the south and east, Met Eireann said.

Temperatures in most areas were 0 to 3 degrees in a "biting" northeasterly wind with a significant wind chill in Dublin.

There was "a high risk" of snow falling inland, which could see substantial accumulations of about 5cm of snow.

Forecasters said the rain and snow will clear away eastwards early tonight, "followed by cold, clear and frosty conditions" in the Dublin area.

Temperatures are set to fall to -4C with a sharp frost and icy patches on the roads.

However, tomorrow morning could bring serious problems on the roads "and even where there has just been sleet or rain, it's likely to freeze hard", the forecasters said.

Tomorrow, nationwide will be a "cold, blustery day with a mixture of sunny spells and scattered showers, some wintry" Met Eireann said.

Dublin will have a generally dry day with sunny spells, although there could be "a few scattered showers around".

Water restrictions are set to continue in Dublin this weekend in advance of the return of schools and colleges on Monday morning.

Meanwhile, a senior traffic corps garda has expressed his shock at the number of people caught drink driving in snow.

Donegal Garda Inspector Michael Harrison has revealed the number of people caught drink-driving from December 1st to January 3rd last was the same as last year -- 36 -- despite the horrendous snow and dangerous road conditions.

Inspector Harrison said he couldn't believe so many people had been drinking and driving during the freeze.

"When I came to the station each day over Christmas, I could not believe that there were so many detections for suspected drink-driving considering one could barely drive on the roads," he said.