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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 9 March 2021
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Snow, sleet and strong winds: What you need to know as the cold snap bites

A Status Yellow snow/ice warning is in place for most of the country today.

Sheep in the snow in Co Dublin on Tuesday.
Sheep in the snow in Co Dublin on Tuesday.
Image: PA

Updated Feb 11th 2021, 11:01 AM

THE COLD WEATHER is set to continue over the next few days with Met Éireann forecasting sleet, snow and low temperatures across the country. 

The forecaster has in place Status Yellow weather warnings for most of the country from this morning, with more warnings expected as conditions worsen. 

It probably won’t reach the level of 2018′s Beast from the East, but here’s everything you need to know about the wintry weather at the moment. 

Snow?

Met Éireann has prepared a handy animation to show the chances of it snowing where you are in the country today. 

The heaviest snow will be experienced on high ground in Munster and south Leinster during this period, the forecaster said. 

These are the approximate times for when rain/snow will arrive: 

  • Cork – 7am – rain/sleet 
  • Galway – 11am – sleet/snow 
  • Dublin – 9pm light snow 
  • Belfast – no snow – mostly dry weather

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Met Éireann’s head of forecasting, Evelyn Cusack, said there is a band of rain pushing in from the Atlantic, turning to snow as it hits the cold air.

“It’s just getting into the south-west at the moment, into Kerry,” she said. “At our station on Valentia Island the temperature is 3 degrees. It’s just rain there. So it’s turning to snow then as it begins to move in over the mountains. 

“This band of rain, sleet and snow will continue up over the country but it’s not going to reach – say if you’re in Dublin – it’s not going to reach Dublin in daylight hours. A line say from Dublin to Sligo, northeast of that line, is going to stay dry.”

She said snow is likely to reach the east and north tonight but it “will be fizzling out at that stage”.

Cusack said there will be a risk of flooding in the south of the country at the end of the week and moving into the weeekend. 

A couple of days ago, graupel (otherwise known as snow pellets) was spotted falling from the sky, as opposed to the regular snow.

Met Éireann explained that these are formed when super cooled water droplets freeze onto a snow crystal. 

The forecaster said there will be sleet and snow in the southwest this morning. This will gradually extend towards Munster, Connacht and south Leinster during the day, with snow accumulations leading to some hazardous conditions.

winter-weather-feb-9th-2021 Snow covered hills in Glenasmole, Co Dublin on Tueday. Source: PA

This snow is set to turn to rain or sleet in southern or southwestern coastal areas. It will remain mostly dry elsewhere across the country, with sunny spells. 

However, it’ll still be windy and very cold with highest temperatures of one to three degrees. 

Winds are set to be strongest in the west and south west.

Tonight, there will be sleet and snow in Munster, Connacht and Leinster early on. This will be largely confined to Leinster throughout the night, with rain continuing towards the south coast. 

Temperatures will stay between one and minus two degrees.

As for tomorrow, there will be some lingering sleet or snow in Leinster in the morning with rain set to continue in southern coastal counties. 

In the afternoon, rain will move across the west and potentially turn to sleet or snow in the north west of the country. 

Temperatures will reach between four and eight degrees in Munster, but will remain colder in the rest of the country with highs of one to four degrees.

Weather warnings

weather Status Yellow weather warnings Thursday. Source: Met Éireann

The public was advised yesterday to expect disruptions to travel systems, along with additional weather warnings in the coming days. 

A Status Yellow snow/ice warning took effect at 8am this morning for Munster, Connacht and Leinster. It will remain in place until 8am tomorrow.

Snow of up to 5cm will be experienced in parts, but this will transition into rain in the west and south of the country by tonight.

There will be snow accumulations of up to 5cm in some parts of the country, Met Éireann said.

There is a further Status Yellow wind warning also in place for Munster, Connacht and Leinster from 8am today until 8am tomorrow, with strong to gale force southeast winds expected.

The forecaster said the winds, combined with the rain, sleet and snow, will lead to poor visibility and hazardous conditions.

Plans in place

Dublin Mountains 011 Sophie Marini Lazarov photographed in Dublin last month. Source: RollingNews.ie

The National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management on Severe Weather said yesterday that today’s snow accumulations could lead to “hazardous conditions in some areas”.

The group said these accumulations have the potential to disrupt transport.

It emphasised yesterday that all unnecessary travel should continue to be avoided in line with current public health advice under Level 5 restrictions. 

The group continues to meet daily, working with Met Éireann, the Office of Public Works, local authorities and other government departments. 

In Dublin, the city council has a Winter Maintenance Plan in place for the next couple of days. 

Roads in the city have been gritted all throughout this week and all road users, including cyclists, have been advised to “take care on the roads and slow down”. 

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) has also activated its extreme weather plan. 

There is spare accommodation capacity each night and if the weather worsens, the DRHE has “additional contingency beds ready to come into operation”.

In Cork, the county council is salting roads as necessary and snow ploughs are on standby to be deployed if necessary.

Drivers are advised to take care, especially near the coasts as high onshore winds combined with snowfall could lead to dangerous road conditions.

In Galway, the city council crews and gritters are on standby and members of the public are advised to take “all precautions necessary to stay safe”, particularly those still travelling to work.

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Travel

1832018-bizzare-severe-weather Photographer Leon Farrell in 2018 digging his car out of the snow in Co Kildare. Source: RollingNews.ie

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has advised all road users to take extra care on the roads this week.

They said people should check their local traffic and weather conditions before making any (essential) journeys.

In terms of practical advice, the RSA said people should remove all snow from their vehicles before going onto the roads.

Any snow left on the roof will become loose and can drop onto the windscreen when the vehicle brakes. It could also fall off while driving. 

People should also clear windows and mirrors using a screen scraper and de-icer. It’s advised not to use hot water on the windscreen as this could crack the glass. 

The RSA advised slowing down in snowy and icy conditions, using controls delicately and leaving extra distance between yourself and the vehicle in front. People are also advised to use the highest gear possible in cars to avoid wheel spin.

In blizzard conditions, visibility will be greatly reduced so the RSA advised not driving on the tail lights of the vehicle in front of you. 

“This can give a false sense of security and you will be too close to be able to brake safely,” the RSA said. 

Cars should use dipped headlights at all times. Fog lights should be used in heavy snow to ensure cars are seen by other vehicles.

Pedestrians are advised to wear high visibility clothing or carry a torch, wear appropriate footwear, walk on the footpath rather than the street, walk on the road facing traffic if there are no footpaths and use extreme caution when approaching any icy or snowy patches to avoid slipping. 

Cyclists and motorcyclists are advised to ensure their lights are working correctly and wear high visibility clothing. 

Pets

Stand alone 114 A dog walking in Dublin yesterday. Source: Sam Boal

The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) issued some advice to keep pets safe during frosty and snowy periods.

The group said that some pets – such as small dogs, sighthounds, short-haired dogs and older dogs – may have lower tolerances for freezing temperatures when going on walks.

It recommended going on shorter, more frequent walks on colder days and contacting your vet for more advice if needed.

Try to keep dogs away from roads covered in salt and wipe down their paws, legs and belly to remove any salt and de-icing chemicals that may have gotten on them. 

These can cause irritation or stomach upset if licked off by the dog, the ISPCA said. 

Don’t leave pets outside for long periods on cold or wet days, and ensure they have warm shelter available that’s away from the harsh conditions. 

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