Coldest weather since Beast from the East as -6C lows, snow and hail to hit Ireland

Flurries of snow tomorrow morning are most likely to affect Dublin, the Wicklow Mountains and the eastern seaboard.

Snow has been forecast. Photo: Getty© Getty Images

Eoghan Moloney and Paul

Ireland is preparing to be plunged into sub-zero conditions by an Arctic air mass likely to bring the coldest weather since Storm Emma over four years ago.

The bitter airflow will bring daytime temperatures of around freezing with night-time temperatures likely to dip to -6 degrees and colder in places.

This will bring snow to parts of the country and hail, sleet and freezing rain to other areas.

Freezing fog, black ice and wintry precipitation will make travel more precarious, particularly at night.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has advised motorists and pedestrians to prepare for hazardous conditions with black ice, snow, fog and frost all likely in the coming days.

Met Éireann has issued Status Yellow warnings for low temperatures and icy conditions and is forecasting severe frost and ice up until next Monday, with uncertainty beyond that.

Temperatures are not expected to exceed three degrees until next week.

Daytime temperatures are expected to be around 5C below the seasonal average towards the end of this week, and it will feel very cold following an unseasonably mild November.

Retailers in the capital have reported a huge increase in demand for winter essentials since Met Éireann issued its weather advisory earlier this week.

Forecaster Brandon Creagh said the cold snap will probably bring with it the sharpest temperatures felt by the country in several years.

Temperatures in the country plummeted to -9 degrees in early March 2018 after what was dubbed “the Beast from the East”, and similarly bitter conditions are expected in the coming days.

“Considering that we haven’t seen anything like this in the last few years, it will feel unusual, in most people’s memory,” Mr Creagh said.

“We’ve had quite mild winters in the past two years and also, just last month, November was very mild with us breaking the record for the highest overnight temperature.

“It switched quite quickly on us from southerly, quite tropical air in November to easterly and now to northerly, which is bringing the cold air down on top of us.”

There is a possibility of snow today in parts of Connacht, Ulster and the midlands before a cloud mass moves in from the east tonight and tomorrow morning, bringing with it more snow and sleet.

Streets in Dublin covered in snow and ice after the 'Beast from the East' during February 2018. Photo:

Today will start with black ice and fog patches, with maximum temperatures of one to five degrees during the day.

A “severe” frost will then set in this evening, with wintry showers and lows of -5 degrees and colder overnight.

Flurries of snow tomorrow morning are most likely to affect Dublin, the Wicklow Mountains and the eastern seaboard.

There will be some lying snow and freezing fog but much of the country will be cold but clear.

Showers of hail and snow are expected on coastal counties at times tomorrow, with lows of zero and -5 degrees forecast overnight.

Temperatures will dip even further at the weekend and may not climb above zero in some places, with a freezing fog lingering over parts of the country.

Sunday will be similarly bitter, and some locations are likely to have highest temperatures of only -2 degrees and lowest temperatures of -6 degrees, with the possibility of even colder conditions locally.

The National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management Crisis Management Team met yesterday morning and has been liaising with Met Éireann regarding the current period of cold weather, it said.

The forecaster has also briefed local authorities, utility providers and government departments in preparation for the cold snap.

Meanwhile, as temperatures plummet, the public have been racing to stay warm, with retailers reporting increased sales on heaters, electric blankets and other goods.

Woodie’s in Blanchardstown said it had sold out of stand-alone Superser gas heaters, while briquettes and hot water bottles were also selling out quickly.

DID Electrical in Stillorgan said it had sold out of electric blankets and electrical and oil-powered heaters, while Guineys in Dublin city centre said it has seen a big increase in the sale of blankets and thermal undergarments as people are “layering up”.

There have been no announcements yet of school closures or disruption to school bus routes, with a Department of Education spokesperson saying school boards of management are responsible for the day-to-day running of their institutions.

Alone, the national organisation representing older people, recently launched its winter campaign.

It warned that more elderly people than ever are at risk of suffering from the cold due to the soaring costs of electricity and oil this winter.

“Share the Warmth” aims to raise awareness and funds to help the more than 100,000 older people who are now living in poverty or are at risk of falling into poverty.

Alone CEO Seán Moynihan said the charity has had to expand its services to meet growing demand.

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