Friday 23 February 2018

Snow-ice weather warning: Cold snap to continue for the rest of the week

  • No relief: Cold snap to continue right into the weekend
  • Temperatures to plummet to -4 and -5 tonight
  • Met Éireann issue second snow-ice warning in 24 hours
  • Status yellow warning applies nationwide
  • RSA and gardaí warn drivers of black ice on the roads today
Snow on the N15 in Donegal in January
Snow on the N15 in Donegal in January
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

The cold snap is now set to continue for the rest of the week.

A nationwide Status Yellow snow and ice warning came into effect this morning - with up to 3cm of snow expected by dawn.

It is the second snow-ice warning to hit the country within 24 hours.

And there is no relief due, as Met Éireann predicts the "raw" weather to continue until at least Sunday.

Speaking on RTE Radio One this morning, forecaster Liz Walsh said the "cold, wintry shower episodes" will "lead to further snow".

"It is set to be very cold, especially in the midlands and the east," Ms Walsh said.

"Temperatures tonight will drop to -4 and -5 degrees.

"This will in turn allow a freezing fog to develop. It'll be less cold near the Atlantic seaboard, with patchy rain and drizzle.

The thin band of sleet and snow was moving across the country yesterday evening. Photo: Met Éireann
The thin band of sleet and snow was moving across the country yesterday evening. Photo: Met Éireann

"Wednesday will turn into a damp, cloudy day with scattered outbreaks of rain and drizzle."

"And the undulating pattern between cold and less cold will continue until Sunday."

Temperatures dropped to just -2C with bitter north-westerly winds last night.

But Met Éireann forecaster John Eagleton said the snowfall will be nothing compared to the 'Big Freeze' experienced during the winter of 2010-11 that brought much of the country to a standstill.

"I don't expect it to be a major problem," he told the Irish Independent last night.

"Even total amounts will be relatively small."

However, frost will be an issue for much of the country today as sub-zero temperatures overnight will leave roads and footpaths slippery.

Black ice could also be a problem for drivers on the roads today, according to Brian Farrell of the Road Safety Authority.

"Just because there's no snow on the roads, don't think 'we've dodged this one'," he said.

Gritters

Meanwhile, the State's transportation authority, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, will be deploying 18 salt gritters equipped with snowploughs in the Greater Dublin Area alone if needed, according to operations executive Kevin O'Rourke.

Up to 4,800 tonnes of salt is on hand if needed, along with seven additional gritters fitted with snowploughs, he said.

The equipment, along with 44 drivers, is on standby to salt major motorways such as the M1 and M50 if needed.

Local authorities were also on standby last night to grit main roads within their areas.

However, it will be very much a 'wait-and-see' approach depending on when and where the snow hits.

"The crews are on standby and there will be snowploughs ready for deployment," he said.

However, timing is crucial so crews will be keeping an eye on the Met Éireann radar and gritting accordingly, he said.

Meanwhile, mountain rescue organisations are warning so-called 'snow tourists' to be well prepared for an emergency if they end up stuck in the snow.

Mountain Rescue Ireland (MRI) - the umbrella organisation for Ireland's volunteer mountain rescue organisations - advises people who are unfamiliar with snow not to venture into the mountains because they may not be able to reach them if conditions deteriorate.

"The mountains can look beautiful in the snow, but it can be treacherous," said spokeswoman Ruth Cunniffe.

Irish Independent

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