Met Éireann warns red alert could be issued next week as Siberian freeze heads Ireland's way
- Two weather warnings currently in place
- Temperatures to drop as low as -3 this weekend
- 'Beast from the East' to hit Ireland next week
- Met Éireann warn orange and red warnings could be issued
A low temperature warning has been issued for 15 counties as Ireland is expected to be hit with severe frosts and significant wind chill this week.
Leinster, Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal are all expected to experience temperatures of below zero with a low of -3 Celsius expected overnight, according to a Status Yellow advisory issued by Met Eireann this afternoon.
The warning will remain in place until 10am tomorrow morning.
It follows a nationwide warning issued earlier this morning, warning Ireland to prepare for exceptionally cold weather and "disruptive" snow showers.
The Siberian front – nicknamed the ‘Beast from the East’ – is set to bring freezing wintry conditions back with a vengeance.
Ireland faces a week of icy winds and frigid temperatures as a vast high-pressure zone forces a freezing front from the Scandinavian and Russian Arctic westwards.
Met Éireann forecaster Joanna Donnelly warned that a red level warning could be issued next week.
"Watch out for the weather warnings this week, they could be up to orange or even possibly a red level warning at times depending on the nature of showers that come.
“We are expecting some disruption due to the accumulation of the snow, of showers coming in off the Irish sea – mostly affecting eastern and south-eastern coasts but at times drifting further inland too.”
The front will stall over Ireland and the UK for almost a week and postpone milder spring weather conditions until early March.
A Status Yellow weather warning is in place today and will remain in place until March 2 with Met Eireann predicting disruptive snow showers from Tuesday onwards, particularly in the east and southeast.
Shoppers, sports fans and revellers will enjoy bouts of sunshine both today and tomorrow before Ireland falls fully into the grip of the freezing weather front.
Walkers and hikers have been warned not to underestimate the conditions – with the bright sunshine set to be followed by icy temperatures almost 6C colder than normal.
Some places, particularly along exposed coastal areas, will be hit with blustery conditions and wintry showers of sleet and hail, some of which may be very heavy.
However, the full force of the Scandinavian-Siberian front will take hold from tomorrow before the mercury plummets on Tuesday with overnight temperatures possibly dropping to as low as -4C.
Today we will enjoy spells of sunshine with the Six Nations rugby clash between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium likely to see largely calm and sunny, albeit cold, conditions.
Patchy frost in some northeastern areas clearing.— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) February 24, 2018
Cold and generally dry today, rather cloudy this morning, but cloud will break up and sunny spells will develop, especially in eastern and midland areas this afternoon. Highest temperatures of 4 to 8 degrees Celsius generally. pic.twitter.com/s5JbvmC5As
A widespread frost is likely in the morning both today and tomorrow with a risk of black ice on higher ground along untreated road surfaces.
However, the Arctic front will dominate from tomorrow night with temperatures dramatically dropping off from Tuesday onwards.
Met Éireann warned the full affect of the Arctic winds will be felt from Thursday when daytime temperatures will remain at or below freezing for some parts of Ireland, particularly across north Leinster, Ulster and north Connacht.
“It will be exceptionally cold for this time of year,” a Met Éireann official warned.
“Some areas next week will see daytime temperatures hover around or slightly below freezing.
“Parts of Ireland will also see a widespread and severe ground frost.”
Most areas can expect ground frost every evening from tomorrow night – with road conditions likely to be treacherous in some areas, particularly along secondary routes and on higher ground.
Gardaí urged motorists to drive with care, particularly in the morning along secondary roads.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) warned motorists to adhere to winter driving rules – to slow down, allow extra time for journeys and to allow additional space to other drivers given the increased braking distances required.
Road salting and gritting operations will resume next week in light of the dramatic change in forecast weather conditions.
Irish Water Safety (IWS) also warned people to exercise extreme care near rivers, lakes and exposed coastal areas, particularly given the freezing conditions and the likelihood of strong gusts.
Age Action has urged people, in light of the icy snap, to check on their elderly or infirm neighbours and that they have proper heating supplies as well as hot food and drinks.