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Dublin: 14 °C Sunday 22 April, 2018
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'Orange alert' warning: Significant falls of snow due in 17 counties this weekend

A low temperature warning has also been issued for tonight.

Updated at 3.30pm

SIGNIFICANT FALLS OF snow are expected across much of the country over Saturday night and into Sunday.

A status orange weather alert – Met Éireann’s second most severe category of warning – has been issued today.

It covers:

  • All of Connacht
  • Cavan
  • Monaghan
  • Donegal
  • Dublin
  • Kildare
  • Laois
  • Longford
  • Louth
  • Wicklow
  • Offaly
  • Westmeath
  • Meath

According to Met Éireann:

Significant falls of snow are expected Saturday night and into Sunday. Accumulations of 4 to 8 cm could occur quite widely with greater totals possible. Drifting snow locally at times too with brisk winds. Slippery paths and treacherous roads also due to snow accumulation and ice.

The warning covers the 24-hour period between tomorrow night at 11pm and 11pm on Sunday night.

A low temperatures alert has also been issued for tonight. The less severe ‘yellow’ warning, which covers the entire country, begins at 7pm and lasts until 10am tomorrow:

Very cold tonight with a sharp to severe frost and icy stretches, as temperatures fall back to between 0 and minus 4 degrees Celsius. Coldest inland and across the north and east.

File Photo THE M7 MOTORWAY is being widened to three lanes between Naas and Newbridge in Co Kildare. Source: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland - File image

Current warnings

A status orange snow-ice warning is already in effect for Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Longford, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo – where snow showers are likely until around 6pm this evening.

A yellow warning remains in place until the same time for the rest of the country.

Tomorrow will start off bright and sunny, but temperatures will be in the low single digits in many areas – slightly warmer in the south.

antrim The scene in Lisburn, Antrim this morning.

Motorists warned 

Road users are being urged to take extra care in the wintry weather. The Road Safety Authority issued this checklist for drivers and other road users this afternoon:

  • Clear your windows and mirrors before you set out, carry a screen scraper and de-icer. Do not use hot water on the windscreen as it can crack the glass.
  • Watch out for black ice. If the road looks polished or glossy it could be, black ice one of winter’s worst hazards: Black Ice is difficult to see. It is nearly transparent ice that often looks like a harmless puddle or is overlooked entirely. It can occur especially in sheltered/shaded areas on roads, under trees and adjacent to high walls.
  • Use dipped headlights at all times to ensure you are seen by other motorists.
  • Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and allow extra space.
  • Remove all snow from your vehicle before commencing your journey. Snow left on the roof will become loose and can drop onto the windscreen during braking, thereby causing sudden and severe restriction to your vision. It can also fall off during your drive and cause injury to pedestrians or a reflex action by another driver.
  • In snow and 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 wheel spin. Select a low gear when travelling downhill especially if through bends.
  • Do not drive on the tail-lights of the vehicle in front (target fixing). This can give a false sense of security and you will be too close to be able to brake safely. In heavy fog, turn off your radio and let down your driver’s window a fraction, so as you can hear other traffic.
  • The best thing to do in extremely bad weather is to stay off the road. Take heed of warnings not to go out and travel only if absolutely necessary. This leaves the emergency services free to deal with real emergencies.
  • With sunny spells also forecast for certain parts of the country, drivers are reminded of the danger posed by ‘sun glare’. Minimise risk by wearing sun glasses, ensuring your windscreen is clear of grease or grime inside and out and adding windshield washer fluid to the water in the reservoir.

Pedestrians and cyclists are advised to:

  • While walking on footpaths and in public places, or entering and exiting your vehicle, don’t underestimate the danger of ice. 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. Take extra care.

SNOW ON THE CURRAGH  758A0981_90531551 The long march in the snow on the Curragh Plains in County Kildare, as members of the Irish Defence Forces take part in a training exercise. Source: Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

Next week 

It will stay cold on Monday, according to Met Éireann, with more wintry showers expected – but temperatures may improve a little on Tuesday as band of rain moves in.

Belfast International Airport put its weather emergency plan into operation this morning after snowfalls in the area. According to a statement:

The airport’s snow clearance teams have been operating gritters, de-icing sprayers, snow ploughs and sweepers throughout to keep the main runway and taxiways operational.
The airlines’ ground handling contractor has been de-icing aircraft prior to departure – a challenge as snow continues – with extended de-icing times required due to snow and low temperatures.

Passengers due at the airport were being advised to leave plenty of time for their journey.

Read: Sky News presenter to Simon Coveney: ‘Do you think that this week’s kerfuffle has been necessary? Do you feel guilty?’  >

Read: Varadkar hails ‘cast iron’ deal as agreement made for no hard border after Brexit >

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