Heavy snowfall expected across most of country over weekend

Temperatures expected to drop below zero with north and east to face brunt on conditions

Footage from Co Leitrim shows snowfall on Friday morning as motorists are warned of treacherous conditions. Video: Ronan McGreevy

Heavy snowfall is expected across most of the country on Saturday night with up to 8cm expected in some places.

Met Éireann has issued a status orange weather warning for Connacht, counties Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Dublin, Kildare, Laois, Longford, Louth, Wicklow, Offaly, Westmeath and Meath with "significant falls of snow" expected on Saturday night continuing into Sunday.

Between 4cm and 8cm of snow is expected but Met Éireann has also warned of deeper snow drifts in some areas. Warnings are also in place to take extra care on paths and roads which will be slippery due to snow and ice.

The snow is expected to arrive around 11pm on Saturday with the warning remaining in place until Sunday evening.


The National Emergency Co-ordination Group convened on Friday in anticipation of severe conditions.

In a statement it said heavy rain moving up from the south of the country could lead to localised spot flooding before hitting very cold air and turning to snow.

“Most areas of the country will experience either heavy rainfall or heavy snowfall on Saturday night [and/or] Sunday,” it said.

The meeting was organised to review the preparations, particularly in the transport sector, for the change in the weather.

As well as salting roads, local authorities will activate their severe weather assessment teams which will be working over the weekend.

The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and local authorities are operating cold weather initiatives for rough sleepers, specifically ensuring additional temporary bed space is made available.

The co-ordination group advised the public to follow update in the media and online that driving conditions could be difficult until Monday. It also urged people to avoid higher altitude areas where possible.


A weather warning for snow on Friday evening has passed but there are still expected to be very cold conditions overnight, dipping to between zero and minus 4 degrees, with sharp to severe frost. The coldest areas will be inland and across the north and east.

Severe conditions further north have led to a decision to close Belfast Zoo.

Management said it had experienced a large amount of snowfall and had cancelled its planned “Wildlife Wonderland” events on Saturday or Sunday.

AA Roadwatch advised motorists to allow extra time to defrost cars. It also warned that stopping distances are up to 10 times longer in icy conditions.

On Friday morning, icy and snowy conditions were reported around the towns of Monaghan, Roscommon, Cavan, Baileborough (Cavan), Longford, Mohill (Leitrim), Kells (Meath), Mullingar (Westmeath) and Letterkenny (Donegal) in particular, according to AA Roadwatch.

While most motorists in affected areas are dealing with icy roads, very snowy conditions were reported in Monaghan town, Carrickmacross and Castleblayney.

Saturday in particular will see a frosty and icy start; most places will be bright and dry with sunny spells, but with some rain developing in the afternoon. Saturday night will be cold, with very heavy rain spreading up from the southwest overnight and snow showers expected in the east, west and north of the country.

The cold weather will continue on Sunday, with rain in the south and sleet and snow in the midlands and parts of the north. Showers will clear and there will be severe frost after dark, with some snow in places.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times