Weather warning expires - but Ireland to remain in icy grip for rest of the week
- Temperatures to drop to zero degrees again tonight
- 'Colder than average' for the rest of the week
- Motorists warned of icy roads and further transport chaos in the next 72 hours
- Heaviest snowfalls were in Connacht and Leinster yesterday - with up to 10cm in places
A Met Éireann weather warning has officially ended at 10am - but the country is set for "lower than average" temperatures for the rest of the week.
Snow, ice and freezing fog caused chaos across Ireland with everything from schools to postal deliveries and public transport being hit by the Arctic conditions over the past 72 hours.
Now, Met Éireann forecaster Jean Byrne said the temperatures will increase today, but will remain lower than average for the week and Ireland would remain in the grip of icy conditions for another 72 hours.
"It will be a cold, frosty start for most parts," she told RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland.
"Temperatures will increase today, clearing away any lying snow and ice.
"However, it will be colder than average for the rest of the week.
Frost&icy patches to clear. Breezy, wet weather in Atl coastal counties will extend across the country, preceded in some hilly areas by some sleet. Drier conditions will follow from the W with showers in Atl coastal counties. Highs 4 to 6°C, 8 to 10°C along southern & Atl coasts.— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) December 12, 2017
"It will be dry in most parts this morning, with rain already moving into Atlantic coastal areas."
Temperatures are rising back to 4 to 8 degrees today in the north and east and up to 10 degrees in the south and south west coasts. However temperatures are set to drop again to zero on Tuesday night.
AA Roadwatch are warning motorists that conditions remain frosty on secondary routes and in the north midlands.
While some children celebrated an unexpected early Christmas break from school yesterday, the snow and ice spelled misery for tens of thousands of commuters with many routes nationwide left treacherous.
Temperatures sank to as low as -8C with the worst of the weather hitting Connacht, Leinster and Ulster, though parts of Munster also experienced snowfalls.
The heaviest snowfalls hit Connacht and Leinster, with up to 10cm in places.
Across the west and midlands, 50 schools took the precautionary decision not to open yesterday.
Schools closed in Longford, Galway, Mayo and Roscommon amid safety concerns as compacted snow on many local roads turned to black ice overnight.
Road conditions in parts of Donegal were also described as treacherous, and more than 40 minor accidents were reported nationwide.
In a number of areas, schools monitored weather conditions in the hope they might be able to reopen in the afternoon for Junior and Leaving Cert exam classes.
Even postal deliveries were hit by the cold snap in rural areas.
“An Post is closely monitoring local road conditions in affected areas and will make deliveries, by wherever means, where it is possible and safe to do so,” a spokesperson said.
“Mail has reached local depots safely but conditions are greatly varied, even within local districts, so staff on the ground will be monitoring the situation during the day.”
Irish councils insisted they were fully prepared for the big freeze, with gritting lorries operating and almost 250,000 tonnes of rock salt in strategic national reserves.
Homeless charities confirmed that, due to the icy spell, additional bed spaces in shelters across the country were brought on stream.
Today, Met Éireann will discuss making Ireland ‘climate prepared’ at the symposium ‘Future Weather, Future Challenges’ in the Round Room at the Mansion House, Dublin.