Easter weekend temperatures will increase slightly

Possibility of snow, sleet but remaining largely dry

Tue, Mar 26, 2013, 16:33

Temperatures will rise only slightly to 7 or 8 degrees over the long weekend but it is expected to remain largely dry, according to Met Éireann.

There is the possibility for sleet, hail, snow and rain towards the end of the week especially along the eastern coast.

It will remain bitterly cold over the coming days with temperatures reaching no higher than 2 to 4 degrees. More sleet and snow is expected. Temperatures tonight will dip to minus 3 and minus 4 degrees with further snow showers expected, particularly in the midlands.

Snow caused problems for motorists this morning in some areas, with the Sally Gap impassable and drivers urged to avoid the Wicklow Gap.

The intermittent snow showers also effected visibility for commuters on some roads, according to AARoadwatch. However, the wintry showers are not sticking in most areas, it said.

AA Roadwatch reported snow in counties Cavan,Cork, Meath and Louth as well as Dublin.

In Co Kildare, there were heavy snowfalls this morning at Celbridge and Leixlip with motorists being warned to take care on back roads. Snow was sticking in Naas and Clane.

In Northern Ireland estimates suggest that up to 10,000 animals have been buried beneath snowdrifts which reached up to 5.5m high in parts of Antrim and Down.

The North’s Minister of Agriculture Michelle O’Neill said: “What we have done is we have asked the MoD to provide a helicopter because there was no helicopter available anywhere on this island that would be capable of taking the feed up and distributing it.

“Anything that helps get food and aid out on the ground then that is what we need to do.”

Many farmers have been particularly badly hit by the severe weather, suffering livestock fatalities and damaged properties.

There have been calls for a compensation package to be agreed. Ms O’Neill said she would press for a hardship payment for farmers at a ministerial Executive meeting on Thursday. The number of animals killed by the freak weather is unclear.

Ms O’Neill said she would also be talking to the banks because affected farmers faced lost income. Medication and food are already being delivered by helicopter to people left snowbound by the severe weather.

The emergency services, Red Cross, RAF and others are co-operating to provide basic supplies like bread and milk to people snowed in for days.

More than 140,000 Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) customers who lost power when the wintry blast struck the eastern counties of the region last Thursday and Friday have since had supply restored.

In the UK thousands of people spent another night without power as the long winter continued its freezing grip. More than 3,000 people in Argyll in Scotland and the Isle of Arran remained cut off overnight after ice and snow damaged pylons, damaging the electricity network.

Transport routes across the UK remained impassible as deep snow drifts buried roads as the dangerous weather showed no immediate signs of abating.

British farmers have been left counting the cost of the blizzard conditions, with many having to rescue stranded livestock at the height of the lambing season.

Additional reporting PA