Snow, ice and freezing temperatures forecast for the weekend

Slippery conditions reported on roads on Friday as drivers advised to reduce speed

A country-wide snow-ice warning in place until midday on Sunday. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

A country-wide snow-ice warning in place until midday on Sunday. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

Widespread frost and freezing temperatures have been forecast for the weekend, with a country-wide snow-ice warning in place until midday on Sunday.

The status yellow alert, which was updated on Thursday morning ahead of predicted overnight temperatures of -5 degrees, comes amid warnings of treacherous conditions and snow accumulations on higher ground in Leinster, Connacht and south Ulster.

Slippery conditions have been reported on Friday morning around Letterkenny, Sligo Town, Castlebar, Carrick-on-Shannon, Mullingar, Longford Town, Monaghan Town and Cavan Towns, as well as on higher ground in Wicklow, according to AA Roadwatch.

Motorists are advised to take particular care on secondary and local routes and on higher ground due to the risk of lingering ice and frost. Drivers should slow down in affected areas, as stopping distances are about 10 times longer on icy surfaces, AA Roadwatch said.

Frost and ice was due to be widespread on Friday morning, remaining in some inland counties throughout the day. Most areas will be dry with sunny spells, with Met Éireann predicting a few “light wintry flurries” and maximum afternoon temperatures of between 2 and 5 degrees.

Friday night will be very cold again, with minimum temperatures of -1 to -5 degrees. Spells of scattered snow flurries move across parts of Ulster and north Connacht and severe frost and ice will be widespread.

The frost will clear gradually on Saturday and afternoon temperatures will be 3 to 7 degrees. The southwest, west and north of the country will see showers, and some may be wintry. Saturday night will be cold and frosty again, with minimum temperatures between 0 and -3 degrees.

Patchy rain and sleet is predicted for Sunday morning, with sunnier spells in the afternoon and highest temperatures of 6 to 9 degrees. A spell of rain is predicted overnight with lowest temperatures of 2 to 6 degrees.

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) activated its Extreme Weather Protocol for people sleeping rough. It urged members of the public to alert Dublin’s Housing First service if they had information on rough sleepers (https://www.homelessdublin.ie/report-rough-sleeper.)

The DRHE, which co-ordinates the homeless services of all four of the capital’s local authorities, said extra contingency beds are ready for use for the duration of the alert.

Meanwhile, Ice and snow disrupted travellers and closed hundreds of schools in the UK on Friday morning as Britain struggled through the coldest night for seven years.

Snow continued to fall across parts of the south west, south east and north east, and in the north of Scotland on Friday morning, the Met Office said.

Snow-clearing efforts continued at Bristol Airport, which said flights would remain suspended until at least midday, while Bournemouth Airport opened at about 9am after an early morning closure.

Disruption to flights from airports in Cardiff and Bristol left queues of rugby fans facing a race against time to get to Paris ahead of Friday evening’s France vs Wales Six Nations opener.

By lunchtime temperatures in the south east are expected to nudge towards 3 to 4 degrees, meaning the sleet and snow should turn to rain.

The Met Office said a low of minus -15.4 degrees was recorded just before midnight at Braemar in the Scottish Highlands.–Additional reporting: PA