Weather warning extended to Friday as emergency group meets over cold snap

There is ‘no expectation’ of power blackouts, Minister says, as temperatures to drop below -5 degrees

The National Emergency Co-ordination Group met on Sunday to assess the impact of the current cold snap which has cased disruption to flights and has created hazardous conditions on the roads.

A status yellow low temperature and ice warning has been extended until Friday following snow and ice warnings over the weekend.

The three-county snow warning for Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow was lifted at 12pm on Sunday.

Speaking following the emergency group meeting, Minister for Local Government Darragh O’Brien said life would “go on as normal” despite the low temperatures.


He said public transport would remain operating and schools would not close but he urged people to “stay safe, stay warm and check in on vulnerable neighbours”.

He said there was “no expectation” of power blackouts following an update from gas and electricity suppliers. “The grid and supply is stable.”

Asked about the accommodation os asylum seekers in tents in Co Clare, he said none would be in tents on Sunday night or through next week, while for anyone at risk of sleeping rough there was “capacity [in emergency accommodation] for everyone who needs a bed in all our urban areas”.

He urged people to use their heating in their homes to stay warm despite fears about mounting bills. “No one will be cut off from energy and from heat. That is a decision the Government has made and that is absolute. There is assistance there [with costs]. We have been making payments with regard to the energy credits.”

For those on social welfare there were additional supports, including increased fuel allowance, double payments and there would be access to exceptional needs payments for those really struggling with energy bills in the New Year, he said.

Met Éireann said the weather would be very cold on Sunday, with a widespread severe frost, ice on roads and paths in the morning as well as patches of freezing fog, lingering in places through the day. Wintry showers will also occur - mainly along northern eastern counties, though most areas will be dry with winter sunshine. The forecaster said temperatures will reach 0 to +4 degrees in light, occasionally moderate, northerly or variable breezes.

Met Éireann said the weather is likely to remain “bitterly cold” for another week. A status orange low temperature/ice warning has been issued for Ireland as a whole from 5pm on Sunday until 12pm on Monday.

A severe frost and further icy stretches will set in on Sunday night, accompanied by patches of freezing fog. Temperatures are likely to fall below -5 degrees in many areas.

Dublin Airport operators DAA confirmed that airlines had to cancel 23 outbound flights and 27 inbound flights on Saturday due to the weather conditions.

DAA said “all is working well” on Saturday morning but, as a knock-on from issues faced by airlines on Friday, a number of flights were cancelled.

DAA said passengers were advised to check with their airline for the latest information regarding their flight. On Friday, a total of 143 flights were cancelled.

Graeme McQueen, media relations manager of DAA, said all surfaces at Dublin Airport including runways, aprons, stands, roads and walkways were pre-emptively treated through the night into Saturday and “are fully open and operational again today as they were for the entire day on Friday”.

“DAA’s teams were on hand in the terminals during the night to help passengers seeking to rebook their cancelled journeys from Friday, providing water etc to those waiting at airline desks,” he said.

Michelle Dillon, meteorologist with Met Éireann, said temperatures dropped to -6.4 degrees in Moore Park, Co Cork and -6.3 in Athenry, Co Galway on Friday night.

Ms Dillon said the weather will stay “bitterly cold” for another week and that Dublin is likely to see more wintry showers due to winds coming in off the Irish Sea.

Meanwhile, attempts were continuing in Co Clare on Saturday to find alternative accommodation for around 100 international protection applicants living in tents at a Direct Provision centre. Outreach workers in contact with residents at the Knockalisheen Direct Provision Centre said a sense of “hopelessness” was beginning to set in after a third night of sub-zero temperatures, though a small number were moved to alternative accommodation on Friday.

Monday will continue very cold with temperatures staying below freezing in many areas. Frost, ice and fog will persist throughout the day. Many areas will be dry with wintry showers mainly affecting coastal counties, especially in the east.

Met Éireann said the cold spell will continue through the coming week with severe frosts, ice and freezing fog at times. There will be a good deal of dry weather, but showers of hail, sleet and snow, mainly in coastal counties. The forecaster has warned of “very hazardous driving conditions”.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times