‘Hazardous’ conditions expected due to snow and temperatures of -5

Emergency management team prepares with yellow level alert in place for eastern counties

Ice formations on the Cooley mountains in Co Louth  on Monday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Ice formations on the Cooley mountains in Co Louth on Monday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

A severe weather response meeting has been held as Ireland braces itself for a snow dump in the northeast of the country with freezing conditions expected over the next 48 hours.

Tuesday’s co-ordination meeting reviewed weather forecasts for the coming days, including the potential impact of snow, “to enable relevant preparations”, the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM) Crisis Management Team said.

Now meeting on a daily basis, it is working with officials from Met Éireann, the Office of Public Works (OPW), local authorities and other agencies.

Up to 5cm of snow is possible in eastern counties over the next 48 hours, with a status yellow weather warning now extended until 6pm on Wednesday.

The snow and ice weather alert covers counties Louth, Westmeath, Meath, Cavan and Monaghan. Snow accumulations of 2cm-5cm are anticipated and have already been reported in many areas.

Overnight temperatures are forecast to drop to as low as -5 and wintry showers are likely to continue throughout Wednesday, mainly affecting the midlands, north Leinster and east Ulster.

A yellow warning for snow and ice has been issued for Thursday covering Munster, Connacht and Leinster, although milder conditions are predicted to take hold closer to the weekend.

“It is likely that precipitation will fall as snow, with accumulations leading to hazardous conditions in some areas,” the emergency management team warned following its meeting on Tuesday. “This has the potential for disruption to transport.”

Local authorities have set out various response plans including making extra beds available for the homeless; road treatment; and readying community call staff ready to assist vulnerable and isolated people.

Met Éireann has said Tuesday night will be “bitterly cold”, with severe frost likely widespread across the country.

“Scattered wintry showers will become mainly confined to the eastern half of the country as long clear spells develop,” the forecast said. Temperatures are likely to drop to as low as minus five degrees, with icy stretches in some places.

The weather will remain very cold into Wednesday morning, with lingering frost and ice throughout much of the country.

There will be wintry showers of sleet and snow mainly affecting north Leinster, east Ulster, and the Midlands. While areas outside of the band of sleet and snow will see some dry, sunny spells. Highest temperatures will still only be between one to three degrees at best, the forecast has said.

Showers of snow will extend northwards across most of Leinster, Connacht and Munster on Thursday, with larger snow accumulations potentially leading to hazardous conditions.

Met Éireann has forecast snow to continue falling over Thursday night in the east of the country, as well as in the Midlands and some northern counties.

Friday is expected to see some lingering sleet and snow in the eastern half of the country, with rain showers elsewhere, particularly in the west.

AA Roadwatch warned motorists in many parts of the State were dealing with snowy and icy conditions on roads, especially across Cavan, and in parts of Westmeath, Meath, Kildare, Wicklow, Longford and Leitrim.

The UK Met Office has issued a similar status yellow weather warning on Tuesday for snow and ice in Northern Ireland, across Antrim, Down and Armagh.

The warning will be in place between 4pm on Tuesday and 11am on Wednesday, with scattered snow showers expected to cause minor travel disruptions.