Road conditions improve around country

Most areas have thawed but ice remains a problem on secondary routes

Pedestrians struggle over the Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin yesterday. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien /The Irish Times

Pedestrians struggle over the Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin yesterday. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien /The Irish Times

Tue, Mar 12, 2013, 13:20

There has been a huge improvement in road conditions around the country this afternoon after temperatures failed to rise above freezing this morning.

Most areas have thawed however icy conditions remain a problem on secondary routes.

Care is advised in Kells, Navan and on the Barnesmore Gap in Co Donegal. Temperatures as low as minus 5.3 celsius on the N3 in Cavan and minus 6 celsius on the N2 in Monaghan were reported early this morning.

In its outlook for the week, Met Éireann said the St Patrick’s bank holiday weekend would be bright and showery, but temperatures would remain low with maximun values of 6 to 8 degrees. Showers of rain or sleet are predicted for Ulster and Connacht later today.

Overnight low

Ground temperatures in some areas dropped to as low as minus 7-8 degrees last night, unusually low for the time of year but not a record.

A weather station at Markree Castle, Co Sligo recorded an air temperature of minus 7.6 last night, making it the coldest place in the State overnight.

The cold air mass currently over the country also saw overnight temperatures hit minus 7.4 at Mount Dillon in Co Roscommon.

In 2010, a cold snap saw temperatures in March dip to minus 8.5 degrees, while in 2006 and 2001 they fell as low as minus 8.6 degrees, according to Met Éireann.

The lowest temperature on record for March is minus 17.2, recorded again at Markree Castle, Co Sligo in 1947.

In the UK, hundreds of drivers were stranded in their vehicles in freezing conditions after snow bought traffic to a standstill.

Motorists were stuck for hours in the bitter cold in long tailbacks as ice and snow made roads across much of the South East impassable.

Eurostar cancelled all services through the Channel Tunnel for the rest of the day.

In France snow disrupted train services, cancelling flights and stranding vehicles on highways. The French Aviation Authority said it has asked Paris airports Charles de Gaulle and Orly to cut the number of their flights by 25 per cent. Intending passengers should check their airline’s web site. Frankfurt airport is closed following heavy overnight snowfalls.