Snow day | 

Met Eireann issues Orange Weather Warning ahead of ‘significant accumulations’ of snow

Lying snow and sub-zero temperatures overnight will also lead to icy stretches. This may result in “very hazardous road conditions”, travel disruption and poor visibility.

A number of vehicles have left the N68 Ennis to Kilrush road in Co Clare at Lissycasey. They include two trucks and a bus. No injuries have been reported and it's understood there were no passengers on the bus. Photo: Press 22

Weather warnings of snow are in place (Joe Giddens/PA)© Joe Giddens

Holy Trinity Church in Bilboa, Co Carlow on Tuesday last. Photo: Niall Carson© PA

Cars, vans and a truck crawl through the snow in Co Clare. Photo: Press 22

Eoghan Molony and Aoife

Met Eireann has upgraded its snow and ice warning to Status Orange for much of the country, after last night’s significant snowfall in parts of the country.

An Orange alert, covering counties Cavan, Donegal, Monaghan, Clare, Longford, Louth, Meath, Westmeath, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo, is in place from 11am this morning and is valid until midnight tonight.

The national forecaster said significant accumulations of snow are expected in some areas along with icy conditions.

Lying snow and sub-zero temperatures overnight will also lead to icy stretches. This may result in “very hazardous road conditions”, travel disruption and poor visibility.

Meanwhile, some schools are staying closed this morning after snow and ice overnight left road conditions hazardous amid a nationwide Status Yellow weather warning.

Some roads in the mid-west are impassable, and forecasters said road conditions would get even more hazardous tomorrow.

There have been several incidents on roads in the west with two trucks and a bus off the road on the N68 at Lissycasey in Co Clare.

A spokesperson said gardaí are currently at the scene.

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"There are two minor collisions reported along this route currently owing to weather conditions,” they said.

An incident has also left part of the N21 in the county impassable.

Parts of Clare and Limerick had heavy snowfall overnight, with some schools in those counties choosing to stay closed this morning.

Around 2,000 premises in those counties are without power this morning, while racing at Thurles, Co Limerick, has also been cancelled. Bus Éireann and some TFI local link bus services have also been cancelled in the west of the country, but may resume later.

Three secondary schools in Co Limerick have taken the decision to remain closed, Hazelwood College in Dromcollogher, Desmond College in Newcastlewest and Coláiste Íde agus Iosef in Abbeyfeale.

The community colleges in Kildysart and Kilmihil in Co Clare will also remain closed as well as a number of junior schools in west Limerick.

Morning traffic and travel: Luas services off; collisions on M50; warning of icy conditions

The N21 between Templeglantine and Newcastle West has been closed following an early-morning collision with diversions in place.

Motorists are also being advised of a collision on the M7 motorway between Junction 26 (Nenagh) and Junction 27 (Birdhill).

​More than 10cm of snow is expected to fall in parts of the country today and tomorrow, leading to hazardous travel conditions and possibly some more school closures, with Status Yellow snow and ice warnings in place for the whole country.

Met Éireann has warned that until the weekend accumulations of snow are expected right across the country, along with icy conditions – which will cause dangerous driving conditions, travel disruption and poor visibility.

Some parts of the country were blanketed with snow this morning, although residents in the capital were greeted only with sleet and rain.

The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage’s National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM) team will meet again this morning, following a virtual meeting yesterday, and will continue to liaise with Met Éireann to monitor the evolving weather situation.

A yellow warning for snow and ice for the entire country will run until 11pm tonight, while a second snow and ice warning will run until 7am on Friday for Leinster, Cavan and Monaghan.

A third weather warning for low temperatures and ice will run from 9pm tonight until 10am tomorrow.

Weather warnings could be be upgraded to orange for some counties, according to Met Éireann.

In relation to the potential for any school closures, a spokesperson for the Department of Education said: “The decision to close a school rests with the school management authority, taking into consideration the full guidance and direction available from the principal response agencies, especially An Garda Síochána.

“Any decision to close is taken in the interest of child safety, having assessed the local risks and having consulted, as appropriate, with school transport operators.”

Where a Status Yellow notice applies, schools in an area have the discretion to decide whether to open, taking account of a number of factors, including whether school buses are running.

Unless there is a Status Red weather warning, decisions as to whether school transport routes operate are taken at local level based on local knowledge of driving conditions.

Sometimes when a Status Yellow makes travel to school difficult, a school may decide to open later in the day to avoid hazardous conditions in the early morning.

In an update this morning, Bus Éireann said in the west of the country routes 314 and 323 are operating with delays; on the 333 and 336, the 7.20 service from Kilkeen and 7.05 service from Doonbeg were cancelled; the route 350 7.45 Lisdoonvarna to Ennis was also cancelled; the 8am Galway to Ennis bus will be terminating in Ballyvaughan; the 8.35 Doolin to Galway has been cancelled.

Speaking this morning, Met Éireann’s Gerry Murphy said this cold snap will last until the end of the week.

People in counties Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary have woken up to significant falls of snow this morning.

“At the moment, across the country, there is a band of rain moving northwards over the country,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

"But because it is so cold, it is falling as sleet and snow in many areas.

“Currently, the northern flank is in the north midlands from Dundalk to Mayo. As it continues to move northwards it is going to bring sleet and snow to many areas today.

"In the south, it is going to get milder and turn back to rain and sleet."

"It should be pointed out there are two halves to this story.

"There is rain, sleet and snow pushing northwards at the moment. However, this evening and tonight, as it gets much colder it will turn to sleet and snow.

“Especially over the eastern half of the country where it will be that bit more winder and disruptive."

The wintry downpours will move northwest across Ireland from the southwest through this Thursday morning.

It is expected that some parts of the country will see snowfall of more than 10cm as the day progresses and temperatures of as low as -4 degrees overnight.

Some regions, particularly in the south and southwest, could see record amounts of snow – but Met Éireann says it is difficult to predict exactly where the heaviest showers will be.

The forecaster said this morning in an update: “Rain, sleet and snow will continue to spread northeastwards to most areas this morning with poor visibility and hazardous road conditions in some parts. Falls of sleet and snow will continue over the northern half of the country this afternoon, but it will turn mainly to rain and sleet further south. Afternoon highs of one to five degrees, but significantly milder in southern coastal areas. Northeasterly winds will freshen this afternoon and it will become rather windy for a time this evening.”

Shannon Airport, Roches Point in Cork, Valentia Observatory in Kerry, and Birr in Co Offaly have never had more than 13cm of snowfall since records began in 1961. They may see those records broken in the next two days.

Met Éireann forecaster Matthew Martin said sleet and snow will push northwards, leading to lying snow in most areas by this evening.

“Through Thursday morning we are going to have a band of rain pushing northwards over Ireland, and that’s going to turn into sleet and snow,” Mr Martin said.

“Temperatures will range from zero to three degrees – but it will feel colder than that, with strong easterly winds. There’s certainly a chance of accumulation of snow, especially in the midlands and north.

“By this evening and tonight, there is a chance of more widespread lying snow, and into the early part of Friday,” said Mr Martin.

The wind chill by Thursday tonight will make it feel like -7 degrees in places, and conditions will be slow to improve due to sub-zero overnight temperatures, with lows of -4 degrees in places.

“On Friday morning it could be quite treacherous on the roads with ice and lying snow. Friday itself will see some drier weather, but temperatures will be between two and five degrees,” he said.

There is an expectation of widespread icy stretches tonight and tomorrow. The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has warned motorists to be cautious if driving.

Motorists should be aware of the dangers posed by poor visibility during periods of falling sleet and snow, and are asked to give cars in front of them extra distance. Pedestrians are being warned of the potential for slips and falls in icy conditions, particularly on untreated roads and paths. Drivers are also asked to use dipped headlights at all times, and fog lights in heavy snow to ensure they are are seen by other motorists.

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