Warmer weather expected by end of week


FORECAST:TEMPERATURES ARE unlikely to rise above freezing for a number of days but principal roads should remain passable for those planning to travel home for Christmas.

Met Éireann says conditions will remain very cold up to Christmas Eve. Some counties on the east coast and in Munster may experience snow today as a cold weather system moves across the Irish Sea from the southeast of England.

Warmer weather is expected to spread over the country on Christmas Eve. Temperatures are forecast to hit between 8 and 10 degrees on Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day.

Met Éireann reported lows of minus 18 degrees at Castlederg, Co Tyrone, and minus 17 degrees in Foxford, Co Mayo, on Sunday night. Similar temperatures are likely to be recorded in the north and northwest tonight and tomorrow night.

Forecaster Pat Clarke told a meeting of the Government’s severe weather taskforce that there would be scattered snow showers between today and Christmas Eve but that much of the country would experience dry weather.

He said a thaw on Christmas Eve could pose problems for motorists. “If there is a partial thaw, conditions could still be very icy, even if the temperature in your car says it’s positive, so that is what should be watched out for.”

Kilkenny county manager Joe Crockett, also of the City and County Managers Association, said all main roads across the country were passable. He said water supplies in most counties had not been seriously depleted despite the return of freezing temperatures.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council said water supply would be switched off from 7pm yesterday to 7am this morning in Monkstown, Loughlinstown and Ballybrack, while pressure will be reduced in Dundrum, Blackrock, Glenageary, Milltown and Dalkey.

Dublin City Council, which plans to impose water restrictions on consumers until Thursday, said almost 40 million litres had been conserved over the weekend and that regular supply would be restored for the Christmas period.

The National Roads Authority yesterday said salt supplies were sufficient with about 8,000 tonnes in reserve across the country. Some 2,000 tonnes were used to grit principal roads nightly and that a fresh shipment of salt would arrive and be distributed from Cork tomorrow. The authority said 25,000 tonnes would be available to service roads over the Christmas period.

Council staff will treat local roads with grit and have also made arrangements with the Irish Farmers Association and Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association to supply grit stockpiles.

An Garda Síochána says people planning to travel over the coming days should attempt to use primary routes whenever possible, drive at the appropriate speed and plan journeys in advance.

Bus Éireann says most of its services ran as normal yesterday but that there were delays on some routes and cancellations in Galway, Monaghan and Louth.

Iarnród Éireann says all trains were operating yesterday but that frozen points were causing delays on some routes.