Sunday 19 May 2019

Drivers urged to take care as Arctic blast holds icy grip over much of the country

Walking in the snow at The Hell Fire Club on Sunday. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Walking in the snow at The Hell Fire Club on Sunday. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Allison Bray

Driving conditions will remain hazardous today and tomorrow morning as an Arctic blast retains its icy grip over much of the country.

Met Éireann issued another Status Yellow low temperature warning that went into effect at midnight last night until 9am today.

It warns of bitterly cold overnight temperatures that will plummet to as low as -5C, with minimum temperatures of between -3C and -4C “widely expected” nationwide.

Met Éireann forecaster Deirdre Lowe said the sub-zero conditions overnight last night and again tonight in the east, south and midlands regions will make driving hazardous this morning and tomorrow, and again when the sun sets tonight.

“It will be very cold in the east and there will be icy stretches,” she warned.

But the unseasonably wintry weather and so-called ‘Son of the Beast’ cold front which left parts of Dublin, Wicklow and the south-east blanketed in snow over the bank holiday weekend is gone for now and not expected back.

“There is nothing extreme,” Ms Lowe said of this week’s forecast.

Overnight temperatures dropped to as low as -6C in Co Roscommon.

While it will remain cold today and tonight, a strengthening wind from the south-west overnight will bring milder temperatures to the west, which will gradually spread nationwide by tomorrow when temperatures will climb back up to 9C and 11C.

It will remain mostly dry midweek with the odd outbreak of patchy rain in northern counties, but more widespread rain will feature on Friday when a low-pressure system moves in.

Temperatures would be slightly cooler than normal on Friday with highs of just 8C or 9C and a touch of frost overnight, Ms Lowe said.

However, it should be the last of the back-to-back heavy snowfalls that have hit parts of Ireland over the past fortnight.

While life was getting back to normal in the capital yesterday after snow put a halt to many festivities on Sunday, the Wicklow Mountain and Glen of Imaal rescue teams were busy.

They rescued a group of snow-bound tourists from Portugal and Brazil whose satnav ill-advised them on Sunday to drive through the Sally Gap from Glendalough, where they got stuck in the snow.

But unlike so-called ‘snow tourists’ who wind up stuck in the snow while attempting to reach the mountains, it was technology that led the group astray, said Wicklow Mountain Rescue spokesman John Kavanagh.

“The satnav told them that the shortest route (back to Dublin) was through the Sally Gap,” he said, adding that road was impassable due to snow.

Fortunately, the group “did what they should” and remained in their vehicle until the rescue teams arrived, he said.

Meanwhile, a number of sporting fixtures were cancelled for the second time after failing pitch inspections yesterday due to snow coverage.

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