Winter wonderland: Schools, roads and airlines affected as big freeze is set to last
- Motorists warned of treacherous road conditions after overnight freeze
- Five departures from Dublin to Heathrow have been cancelled this morning
- Irish Rail also experiencing some delays
- Worst affected counties appear to be Roscommon, Sligo, Donegal, Cavan and the eastern half of Galway
- Many routes across the country affected by snow, ice or slush
- Motorists warned to slow down
- Send your snow pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org
Motorists and pedestrians are being urged to exercise extreme caution on roads and footpaths today as bitterly cold temperatures overnight will leave much of the country covered in ice.
A Status Orange low temperature warning for all of Ireland was issued yesterday and went into effect from 8pm last night, lasting until 10am today.
The alert warns of “extremely low temperatures tonight with severe frost, ice and lying snow” as temperatures were expected to plummet to between –2C and –8C in some areas.
Severe frost will linger in many parts of the country today with temperatures only reaching 3 or 4 °C in cold northerly winds. Otherwise a cold, bright day with mixed wintry showers across Connacht, Ulster and west Munster but mainly dry elsewhere.— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) December 11, 2017
The worst-affected regions are counties in the eastern half of Connacht as well as Leinster and Ulster.
Met Éireann also warned that footpaths as well as roads will be treacherous due to ice and the accumulation of snow in many areas yesterday.
“All places are at risk of severe ice,” forecaster Liz Gavin told the Irish Independent. “There’s nowhere that won’t get ice.”
The morning rush hour is expected to be challenging, especially in Leinster.
Although the ice will start to melt by late morning or early afternoon, freezing conditions will set in again around 9pm tonight, with frosty conditions overnight.
The cold snap will continue for the rest of the week, although it won’t be nearly as cold and wintry as it has been over the past 24 hours, Ms Gavin said yesterday.
Wintry showers were also forecast to return to the west, north and midlands by the end of the week.
“The cold snap will continue for the rest of the week but nothing as severe as we’ve had,” she said.
While children in many parts of the country enjoyed the wintry weather, for drivers it was a different story.
In Sligo, around 6cm of snow fell across the county over Saturday night and yesterday.
The county council said that main roads would be covered by salt, but that commuters travelling this morning must take caution when using roads that are untreated.
Some instances of flooding took place in areas of Limerick, although it is understood they were minor and kept under control.
Meanwhile, snow and ice – especially in the west and midlands – led to some delays on Bus Éireann routes yesterday although a spokesman said the majority of services were unaffected by the weather. However, snow led to delays on some intercity routes, including Expressway services.
Most schools are open across the country this morning as primary roads are passable.
However, according to RTÉ, up to 50 schools in Longford, Roscommon and Galway are closed because of ice and snow.
In Co Longford, eight of the nine secondary schools and 25 primary schools are closed.
In Co Galway, several schools in Ballinasloe and Portumna are closed and schools in Swinford in Co Mayo are also closed because of the poor weather conditions.
Secondary schools in Ballinrobe and Claremorris are planning to open after 11am this morning to allow temperatures to rise.
A number of flights have been cancelled due to wintry conditions in the UK and in continental Europe.
While operations at Dublin and Cork airports were not affected by the weather, there was a knock-on effect from some UK airports.
Four morning flights from Dublin to Heathrow have been cancelled, while two Cork to Heathrow flights have also been cancelled.
According to Ryanair's website, all UK flights are as scheduled.
LIVE: Traffic chaos
An AA spokesman said the issue for motorists today is ice, especially lethal black ice that can form once a layer of ice thaws and re-freezes, leaving a sleek surface that is difficult to see.
At the moment, the worst affected counties appear to be Roscommon, Sligo, Donegal, Cavan and the eastern half of Galway, with many routes across these areas affected by snow, ice or slush.
In Monaghan, there are slippery road conditions around Carrickmacross, especially on the Ballybay Rd (R180) between there and Laragh.
In Donegal, road conditions are icy around Letterkenny Town, and on secondary routes from between Letterkenny and Inishowen and Rathmullan. It's still icy on some routes in Buncrana, especially around Clonblosk.
In Cork, conditions remain icy on secondary routes in the Mallow area. They have improved however on the New Twopothouse/Doneraile Rd (R581) near Hazelwood. Secondary routes remain very icy too around Midleton and elsewhere around Béal na Bláth.
In Kerry, Gardaí advise that roads around the Barraduff area are icy this morning.
Gardaí in Clare say ice may linger in shaded areas on the Ennis/Quinville Rd (R469) and on the Shanaway Rd, just off the N85.
In Laois, road conditions in the Abbeyleix area still icy in parts with snow on the ground say Gardai.
In Wicklow, gardaí advise motorists to avoid the Sally Gap due to poor road conditions. Conditions are also snowy around Glendalough, with extreme caution advised.
In Westmeath, the Main Street through Athlone (R446) is slippery due to icy conditions. It’s improving slowly around Mullingar but it's still icy. Icy conditions reported too on the road from Mullingar/Ballymahon (R392).
In Offaly, road conditions remain slippery around Tullamore, Birr and Banagher village. Gardaí are advising extra caution on secondary routes.
In Meath, areas affected by icy road conditions include Kells, Oldcastle, Crossakiel and Navan.
In Kilkenny, particularly icy on the Old Dublin Rd (R448) between Thomastown and Gowran.