Gardai warn motorists to avoid all unnecessary journeys as snow and ice bomb hits Ireland with temperatures to plummet to -8C tonight
Met Eireann has issued two status orange weather warnings as Ireland wakes up to severe snow and frost this morning.
A snow and ice warning remains in place this morning for Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Wicklow, Offaly, Westmeath, Meath, Galway, Mayo, Roscommon and Tipperary.
The warning is in place until Sunday night at 11pm as significant falls of snow fell last night and this morning.
Met Éireann high resolution model HARMONIE showing mixture of rain and snow prediction for 9am Sunday. pic.twitter.com/gHVs73jK0H— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) December 10, 2017
Met Eireann warned that the snow will lead to slippery paths and treacherous roads throughout today.
Gardaí say most people seem to have heeded the advice to say off the roads, with poor conditions in several areas following snow and heavy rain.
"People living in areas where an Orange level weather warning has been issued should exercise extreme caution when travelling and avoid unnecessary journeys," gardai said.
A second status orange warning is in place as gale force winds are expected to hit parts of the country today.
Westerly strong gales are continuing this morning on Irish coastal waters from Carnsore Point to Mizen Head to Loop Head and reaching storm force 10 for a time. The weather warning remains in place until 5pm today.
Met Eireann forecaster Evelyn Cusack told RTE's Morning Ireland that Ireland is waking up to snow and frosty conditions this morning.
"There is a real mixture of weather across the country this morning from icy conditions and sunny weather soon in Ulster. Over many other areas there has been some very heavy rain during the night up to 30mm since midnight. That rain has converted to snow over many midland and western areas. We've heavy snow occurring at the moment with temperatures at zero degrees.
"There will be a further mixture of rain, sleet and snow through the morning and in southern parts of Munster, Cork and Kerry where there has been rain, the rain has cleared at this stage but we've winds gusting up to gale force from a westernly direction."
Ms Cusack said that gradually during the day the rain, sleet and snow will move to the south of the country.
"Frost will be widespread by this evening. It will be bitterly cold as temperatures drop sharply everywhere this evening and tonight ranging from -2C to -8C. There will be widespread severe frost and ice with dangerous conditions on untreated surfaces tonight and throughout rush-hour tomorrow."
It's better news for next week as Monday is to be a warmer, sunnier day but with some frost and ice on Monday night.
Gardai issue warning to motorists
An Garda Siochana has advised the public to "exercise extreme caution" and not to make unnecessary journeys.
They said in a statement: "People living in areas where an Orange level weather warning has been issued should exercise extreme caution when travelling and avoid unnecessary journeys.
"There has already been falls of snow in parts of the country with more forecast and motorists are asked to heed the changing conditions.
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"Drivers should be aware that it takes longer to stop a vehicle on an icy road so slow down and allow extra distance between you and the vehicle in front.
"Motorists should clear the windows and mirrors of your vehicles before you set off on your journey and carry a screen scraper and de-icer. Do not use hot water on the windscreen as it can crack the glass.
"Ensure you remove ALL snow from your vehicle before commencing your journey as snow left on the roof will become loose and can drop onto the windscreen during braking, causing severe restriction to your vision.
"It can also fall off during your drive and cause injury to pedestrians or a reflex action by another driver."
Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn, Roads Policing, added: "Please be aware that visibility is reduced in snowy conditions so drive slowly if you need to make a journey. Allow extra distance between you and the vehicle in front.
"Motorcyclists and cyclists should not comprise their safety by their 'need' to travel in icy or snowy conditions. Be safe".
There are reportedly poor conditions on the M6 Galway/Dublin Rd between J17 Athenry and J14 Ballinasloe.
The Loughrea/Ballinasloe Rd (R446) is impassable in places due to snow and icy road conditions. Gardaí advise to use an alternative route.
There are also reportedly poor conditions in the Portumna area.
There is thick snow on the N77 Kilkenny/Portlaoise Rd outside Portlaoise.
Gardaí are reporting poor conditions too around Stradbally.
Gardaí advise caution on the N52 Birr/Tullamore Rd due to snowy conditions.
There are reportedly poor conditions on the M9 Waterford/Dublin Rd in the Kilkenny and Carlow areas (between J11 Mullinavat and J4 Castledermot)
The Thomastown/Graiguenamanagh Rd (R703) is almost impassable due to heavy snowfall.
The hill at Bennetsbridge towards Danesfort is almost impassable. Road users are asked to avoid the area and take an alternative route.
There are reports of particularly bad road conditions across the county due to snowfall, especially in Bonniconlon, Crossmolina, Foxford and Swinford. Gardaí are advising motorists to slow down and drive with care in these areas.
There are poor conditions on the N5 Westport/Castlebar Rd at Sheeane due to snowfall. Gardaí are advising that extra care is need on this route.
Gardaí advise that road conditions on the N26 Swinford/Ballina Rd are particularly bad due to heavy snowfall.
There are slushy conditions on roads around Tramore and Waterford City after snowfall earlier this morning.
We have reports of heavy snowfall in the areas of Mullingar, Moate and Athlone affecting routes in those areas.
The Sally Gap (R759) and approach roads in the area are impassable due to snow and ice.