Temperatures on Thursday night are set to drop to minus 3 degrees, prompting warnings for freezing conditions across the island.
Motorists, pedestrians and householders have been urged to take extra care as temperatures are set to drop bringing dangerous conditions on roads, footpaths and in homes.
Met Éireann has issued a status yellow warning, the first of its three level warning system, for all of Connacht as well as 18 counties from Kerry to Dublin. The counties affected are Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Laois, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Westmeath, and Wicklow. The warning will come into effect at 6pm on Thursday and is valid until midday on Friday.
Met Éireann said its warning for temperatures expected to fall below minus 3 degrees would remain in place until noon on Friday. “Frost and ice will cause hazardous travelling conditions,” Met Éireann said.
In Northern Ireland the UK Met Office has issued a similar status yellow warning for all counties with the exception of Fermanagh. The weather authority said motorists should avoid driving if at all possible. The warning is in place until 10am on Friday.
The Road Safety Authority has also advised all road users to prepare for the cold weather conditions. Road users should check local traffic and weather conditions before setting out on any journeys, the RSA said.
Specifically, those who must drive are advised to:
* Clear windows and mirrors fully before setting out, use a screen scraper and de-icer fluid. Do not use hot water on the windscreen as it can crack the glass.
* In icy conditions, slow down, use all controls delicately and leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front. Avoid over steering and harsh braking and harsh acceleration. Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheelspin. Select a low gear when travelling downhill especially if through bends.
* Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, people who cycle and motorcyclists – slow down and allow extra space when overtaking them.
The authority also advised pedestrians and drivers to “not underestimate the danger of ice”. The Road Safety Authority said many slips and falls happen in places people regard as safe and secure, typically outside their front door, on the doorstep, on the path or while getting out of the car. It warns people that, when approaching a footpath or roadway that appears to be covered with snow or ice, to always use extreme caution.
Many local authorities have advised householders, especially the elderly and the vulnerable to do their best to stay warm and not to go outside.
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