Experts' warning on deadly flu as country braces itself for Arctic blast
- Consultants warn public to follow infection-control practices
- Public told washing hands is 'more important than a second pair of socks'
- Met Éireann weather warning now in place until 3am, Wednesday
- Sub-zero winter storm to send gales and showers across Ireland
- High risk of flooding on Atlantic coasts
Experts are warning people to follow infection-control practices - and said "washing of hands is more important than putting on a second pair of socks" in the cold weather.
The warning comes as the country braces itself for wintry showers and snow over the next two days.
Forecasters predict a sub-zero winter storm which will send gales and polar showers across Ireland from today, with high risks of flooding on Atlantic coasts.
Met Éireann's status yellow warning will be valid from 6am on Tuesday until 3am on Wednesday.
A status yellow wind warning has also been issued for Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick.
It will remain in place until 3am on Wednesday.
Here's the Rain & Snow forecast for the next 36 hours from the Met Éireann high resolution model - Harmonie - until Wednesday afternoon.— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) January 16, 2018
Rain = blue to red
Snow = white
The latest Warning updates are here:https://t.co/X6NncUghZ9#snow #sneachta pic.twitter.com/cQgftlepPZ
"Very cold today with widespread wintry showers, some heavy & risk of thunder," Met Éireann's latest update reads.
"Accumulations of snow are likely, especially over the northern half of the country & over high ground elsewhere. Winds will reach gale force in the west with some severe gusts & very high seas. 1 to 5°C."
Some of the country's leading health consultants are warning people of the need to follow infection-control practices, the Irish Independent reports.
Prof Sam McConkey, consultant in infectious diseases at Beaumont Hospital, and Prof Joe Keane, a respiratory consultant in St James's Hospital, are asking people to wash their hands and dispose of tissues.
Very cold today with widespread wintry showers, some heavy & risk of thunder. Accumulations of snow are likely, especially over the northern half of the country & over high ground elsewhere. Winds will reach gale force in the west with some severe gusts & very high seas. 1 to 5°C pic.twitter.com/hQYzO9LYwU— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) January 16, 2018
Prof Keane said: "Washing of hands is more important than putting on a second pair of socks."
Meanwhile, Liz Walsh - forecaster for Met Éireann - told the Irish Independent that the weather warnings will be updated regularly.
"The weather has proven to be a very mobile situation.
"A combination of winter showers, hail and thunder will often result in very strong down drafts and collective wind gusts.
"These can be damaging and we're really keeping an eye on how it evolves," she said.
Ms Walsh added that there's a risk of snow in all parts of the country from today.
"There's a risk almost everywhere for snow, but it will accumulate in Connacht and Ulster. It will possibly progress further south [this evening].
"It's touch and go for Dublin, but I think we will see sleety showers and gusty winds, but it won't be anything as bad as what is expected on the Atlantic seaboard."
Temperatures are due to rise on Wednesday, before they plummet again.
Meanwhile, the UK is currently bracing for very strong winds amid fears it could strengthen into a weather bomb named Storm Fionn.
A spokesperson for Met Éireann said it did not yet know if it was anything to worry about.
"[Storm Fionn] is something we're actively considering. However, it's still too early to predict," they said. "We have enough on our plates at the moment with the current weather.
"We'll probably issue an update on it later."