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Met Éireann issues nationwide snow warning as shoppers get ready for busy Christmas period

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A 'covering of snow' in many parts of the country is expected as Christmas preparation goes into overdrive with the busiest shopping period of the year.

A status yellow snow and ice warning will remain in place nationwide until 11am Sunday morning as Met Éireann say that snow could stick to the ground in many areas of the country.

The forecast warns people to expect; "Wintry showers of hail, sleet and snow with localized accumulations, especially on high ground, and icy stretches on roads and footpaths."

"We have a snow warning out at the moment for the north-west and we will probably be extending it further to parts of the South-West and the Midlands and maybe other parts of Connacht for later on today," forecaster Deirdre Lowe told Independent.ie.

"For the west and north and hills in Cork and Kerry, there is likely to be a covering of snow. The Wicklow Mountains will probably get some snow this evening. Dublin will probably get wet snow and this evening, and from the midlands northwards there could be a dusting of snow.

"It is typical winter weather," she added.

Two dogs enjoy the fresh snowfall in Cumbria. Parts of northern England woke up to a dusting of snow and ice this morning.

Dublin Town CEO Richard Guiney said the conditions plays a major role in getting shoppers out for the run-up to Christmas.

"The next two weekends are expected to be busy, with plenty of shoppers out to pick up last-minute gifts," he said.

"We expect to have footfall for the Christmas period of about 19 million.

"If the weather forecast is pleasant enough, we expect it to be busy, so fingers crossed," he said.

Bad weather could be a bigger concern for businesses outside of Dublin.

Commercial director for Retail Excellence JP Kennedy said although figures for footfall around Dublin have improved on last year, regardless of weather, retailers outside the capital are already suffering.

"Retail slowed down around September to November around the whole Brexit issue," he said.

"I also think that in Dublin, retail is probably doing a bit better than the rest of the country, so if you're outside the main urban sector I think you're still finding it quite difficult. People are spending, but not where retailers would like them to."

Driving conditions overnight, into the mornings this weekend and early next week will be dangerous with freezing fog slow to clear and roads likely to be icy with sleet and snow.

The cold weather of the early week will eventually turn milder as the week progresses.

The meteorologist said: "Basically, it's going to stay cold for the next few days with temperatures in the low-single figures."

Online Editors