Wednesday 27 March 2019

Met Eireann predict 'heavy snow showers' as Status Orange warning issued for St Patrick's Day weekend

A stunning aerial photo of snow-covered Wicklow Photo: Jerry Kennelly
A stunning aerial photo of snow-covered Wicklow Photo: Jerry Kennelly

Ralph Riegel and Newsdesk

Met Eireann have added a Status Orange Snow-ice warning for Sunday to the Status Yellow Snow-ice weather warning covering the entire country for St Patrick's Day.

The forecaster is warning of 'heavy snow showers' with accumulations and drifting in the places.

The new warning, issued this evening, comes into effect at 3am on Sunday for seven counties; Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Wexford, Wicklow, Meath and Waterford.

The warning runs until midday on March 18 and Met Eireann say that these counties will experience scattered heavy snow showers, leading to accumulations in places.

There is also the threat of some drifting.

This new warning is a result of frigid winds from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe  that will bring a weather system already nicknamed "Son of the Beast" to our shores.

It will be an unwelcome reminder of the freezing conditions of the 'Beast from the East' weather front that hit the country with Arctic conditions just a fortnight ago.

Met Eireann also upgraded their Status Yellow Snow-ice weather warning this evening.

It now covers the entire country and runs from midday on St Patrick's Day until 9am on Monday, March 19.

They warned that it will be very cold everywhere this weekend, with wind chill making it feel even colder.

Icy patches are to be expected and while snow showers can be expected in come areas, the northwest should escape.

Met Éireann has warned that some St Patrick's Day parades will take place in temperatures of just 1C, a startling drop of almost 10C from the milder conditions earlier this week.

Overnight temperatures in some areas will plummet to as low as -5C this weekend, with very heavy frosts predicted.

North Leinster and Ulster are expected to witness showers of snow and sleet, some of which may be quite heavy.

The snow showers follow torrential rainfall on Wednesday, which caused flooding in Kilkenny, Cork and Dublin.

Major flood barriers remain in place across Cork with rivers including the Blackwater, Funcheon and Lee threatening to break their banks.

However, icy conditions will be the dominant feature of the weather for the next week.

"It will be a very cold day almost everywhere, so the advice for all parade-goers and marchers is to wrap up well," a Met Éireann spokesperson said.

"The winds will be from the east, so it will seem even colder than it actually is."

However, the good news is that most areas are expected to enjoy dry spells, particularly in the early part of tomorrow when most of Ireland's 150-plus St Patrick's Day parades take place.

The Scandinavian front will dictate Irish weather for the next few days, with icy conditions expected to last until next Wednesday.

Sunday and Monday mornings will witness a particularly heavy frost and gardaí and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) urged motorists to drive with care given the possibility of black ice, particularly on roads which are still water-logged from the rainfall on Wednesday.

Irish Water Safety and the Irish Coast Guard urged people out walking in coastal areas for the St Patrick's weekend to exercise extreme care, given the blustery conditions likely.

The Department of Housing said that local authorities would salt roads where required over the weekend, adding there were ample supplies of salt in stock.

It also said the severe weather assessment team would monitor the situation over the coming days.

Irish Independent

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