Ireland weather | 

Fresh Status Yellow ice warning as temperatures to drop to -5C in places tonight with hazardous road conditions expected

Snow on the hill of Slane. Picture By David Conachy.

Gurusa Geraldo holds her son Conor Geraldo Furlong, 3, in Massey Woods during heavy snow, in Dublin, Ireland March 9, 2023. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne© REUTERS

Ralph Riegel and Paul HylandIndependent.ie

There are hazardous conditions for travellers in some parts of the country this morning after snowfall overnight and icy conditions.

There is also a warning that thawing snow could refreeze today and form ice as temperatures drop again this evening and tonight.

A Status Yellow ice warning remains in place for most of the country until noon and a Status Orange is in place for Dublin and Wicklow until 9am. However, these were pared back from earlier predictions of heavier snow and ice disruption issued yesterday.

It’s hoped that most schools will open today, but some closures are possible as motorists have been warned of treacherous driving conditions as some areas.

Keith Leonard, director of the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM), said there is not “too much disruption” this morning, and public transport is moving well.

"That would be the hope that most schools would be open but again, that will be a call for principals and boards of management to make locally across the country,” he told RTÉ.

"My sense is that most schools are opening as normal today.”

"We still have a Yellow warning out there’s still going to be particularly hazardous conditions across the road network today, but certainly we're seeing a transition to more normal temperatures. It will be cold again tonight and then we should be back to normal March weather from tomorrow onwards,” he added.

In Wicklow and Dublin, Met Éireann is warning of “Further falls of sleet and snow for a time this morning with accumulations in places and icy conditions”, which could lead to hazardous road conditions, some travel disruption and poor visibility.

"Icy in places this morning with rain, sleet and snow in the east to start quickly clearing into the Irish Sea, leaving a cold and generally dry day with sunny spells. It will be cloudier in the southwest with isolated showers and some showers of rain and sleet are possible on northern coasts. Daytime temperatures of 4 to 7 degrees in a light variable breeze,” Met Éireann said this morning.

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The combination of snow and widespread black ice this morning will cause widespread disruption.

Temperatures were forecast to plummet to close to -5C in some inland areas overnight, with heavy snowfalls across parts of Leinster and Ulster.

Over 5,000 homes and business are without power this morning. Work is underway by ESB crews to restore power to impacted customers and estimated restoration times are available online, on the energy provider’s ‘powercheck’ page.

Gardaí and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) urged people to make only essential journeys in areas that are badly hit by snow and ice.

In Dublin, there is was a collision on the M1 between J1 Donabate and J3 Swords southbound at around 5.30am with the hard shoulder and lanes 1 and 2 affected.

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Some bus services have been cancelled around the country.

The Bus Éireann service between Castlebar and Headford is off this morning, as are buses in Meath between Navan and Dublin and Dunshaughlin and Dublin. Travellers should check with their operator before setting out.

Dublin Bus has also curtailed some routes, with the 44b not serving Glencullen, 47 not serving Belarmine, 61 not serving Rockbrook and the 65 not serving Ballyknockan.

Some areas were predicted to face up to 13cm of snow, but the Arctic spell has not rivalled Storm Emma, which, combined with the Beast from the East, led to between 30cm and 69cm of snow between February 27 and March 4, 2018.

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The heaviest daily snowfall from Storm Emma was on March 3, when Glenmacnass in Wicklow recorded 69cm.

Homelessness charities moved to increase bed capacity at their emergency shelters because of the threat posed by the sudden Arctic conditions.

Keith Leonard, director of the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM), warned that “significant disruption” was expected for primary and secondary schools today because of the icy weather conditions.

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“Conditions are going to be difficult, with significant accumulations of snow, so it will be very disruptive in some areas,” he said.

“School transport operators will travel the routes on Friday morning and assess the local road conditions.

“They will only operate school transport services where it is safe to do so – there could be significant disruption to schools on Friday.”

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More than 500 lorries were out gritting and salting roads yesterday evening as Transport Infrastructure Ireland and local councils made plans.

“Conditions like these can be challenging to treat with intermittent rainfall-snow and freezing weather likely between salting treatments that may result in icy conditions,” a council official said.

“There is also the risk that rain and snow washes off some of the salting treatments.”

Met Éireann had issued a Status Orange snow and ice warning for 17 counties, including all of Leinster, until 10am today, although that has been pared back and only Dublin and Wicklow remain under that warning.

A Status Yellow snow and ice alert in place for the entire country until noon has been pared back to a Status Yellow ice warning.

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While the worst of the snow and ice hit the mid-west yesterday, Leinster was expected to get heavy snowfall and a particularly severe frost overnight into today, making driving conditions in some areas hazardous.

Met Éireann said the thaw will not begin until tomorrow evening as milder, wetter conditions spread over the country, with temperatures on Sunday expected to climb to 14C.

Forecaster Gerry Murphy has warned that thawing snow could re-freeze later today and create further hazardous conditions overnight tonight and tomorrow morning.

"The frost and ice and the road conditions on roads and paths are the things that people need to be most aware of and most careful with initially this morning, right the way through the day, and then very much overnight and tomorrow morning as well,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

Mr Murphy said conditions varied across the country last night but some areas got a “good deal of snow”.

He said the weather system is now clearing south-eastwards with the last of the snowfall expected to clear the Dublin and Wicklow region over the coming hours.

"That's really the end of the sleet and snow in the shorter term anyway. So, the main critical point of the weather beyond that, is the very low temperatures. The temperatures currently are down around minus -2C, -3C but they're still dropping and they will continue to drop until to between about 8am or 9am,” he said.

Snow on the hill of Slane. Picture By David Conachy.

"That’s going to give very severe conditions on the roads because there is ice, there is lying snow and even where there was rain, the roads are very wet. So, many places are freezing with ice as well, so it's definitely a morning where there is the possibility of some very hazardous conditions on the roads but it is an improving situation because today the temperatures do get up that bit to between 4C and 7C and that's a good thing for the most part.

"However, it will cause its own impacts with regard to the weather, because what we see is we see some of the snow beginning to melt and turn to slush and I'm afraid that we're in for a very frosty night tonight, which means that the conditions on the roads will be quite poor tonight as well. So, people need to be very aware of that.”

Mr Murphy said a further band of sleet and snow will move north-eastwards across the country tonight but it will be followed by milder air tomorrow evening.

Gurusa Geraldo holds her son Conor Geraldo Furlong, 3, in Massey Woods during heavy snow, in Dublin, Ireland March 9, 2023. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne© REUTERS

"Then we're back in the clear,” he added.

Mr Murphy said Sunday is going to be a “fairly wet day” and the milder temperatures and showers will continue next week.


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