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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 10°C File photo

Status Yellow weather warning: Motorists urged to be cautious on the roads

The southern half of the country will see sleet and snowfall overnight.

LAST UPDATE | Mar 8th 2023, 10:48 PM

MET ÉIREANN HAS issued a Status Yellow warning for snow and ice for the entire country tomorrow, with motorists urged to take care on the roads.

The forecaster expects rain, sleet and snow to fall in the southern half of the country tonight and tomorrow along with strengthening easterly winds and “noticeable snow” in many areas, as well as icy conditions.

The warning will start at 3am and last until 11pm tomorrow except for Cavan, Monaghan and all counties of Leinster, where it will remain in place overnight until 7am on Friday.

Additionally, a Status Yellow low temperature/ice warning for the whole country will be in place from 9pm tomorrow until 10am on Friday.

Road users urged to be cautious

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has said the weather will lead to hazardous road conditions and reduced visibility.

It said road users should check local traffic and weather conditions before setting out on any journeys, as well as taking the following precautions:

  • Remove all snow from their vehicle before setting off, including snow on the roof
  • Clear windows and mirrors using a screen scraper and de-icer
  • Slow down, use all controls delicately and leave extra distance from the vehicle in front
  • In heavy snow, use fog lights, turn off the radio and open the window a fraction, so they can hear other traffic, especially at junctions
  • Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and allow extra space

The RSA also urged pedestrians not to underestimate the danger of snow and ice. It said footpath users should wear high-visibility clothing or carry a torch.

The Office of Emergency Planning has warned people to be prepared for low temperatures, and to put a hi-viz jacket, shovel and boots in the boot of their car.

It has also advised motorists to ensure their windows are clean and free from snow and that they have a scraper and de-icer. 

‘Significant amount of snow’

Met Éireann’s Gerry Murphy said today that there will be a “significant amount of sleet and snow” in the weather system which is due to push up from the south tonight and into tomorrow.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, he said the forecaster expects “pockets of Orange-level snow”, meaning snowfall of between three and 10 centimetres, and possibly more in higher-ground areas.

This will certainly bring noticeable snow, it’s not just a question of a few flurries here and there.

“Tonight will start off similar to recent nights, mostly cold and dry … after midnight, this sleet and snow is going to push up over really much of the southern half of the country.”

He said Ireland would not get as much snow as has been seen in England and Wales today, but tomorrow morning there will be “quite a bit of sleet and snow” on the ground in the southern half of the country.

The Department of Housing’s National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM) Crisis Management Team held a virtual meeting today in response to the coming weather.

The NDFEM met with Met Éireann, the local authorities, the Principal Response Agencies, key Departments and responding national organisations and will hold another meeting tomorrow at 11am.

The Road Safety Authority has warned drivers to watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and allow extra space.

The UK Met Office issued a snow warning for all six counties in Northern Ireland from 7am tomorrow until 2pm on Friday, cautioning that “heavy snow has the potential to cause disruption”.

The PSNI has urged motorists to prepare for potentially challenging and hazardous driving conditions across Northern Ireland tomorrow

The force also asked drivers to “listen to and consider all travel and safety advice before making any journey.”

The town of Castlederg in Co Tyrone recorded a temperature of -8.5 degrees, the lowest since 2010.

Temperatures dipped to between minus one and minus three degrees last night in many places, with the lowest temperature of minus four degrees recorded at Markree Castle at 4am.

Some areas stayed above freezing but were also subject to chilly conditions as a cold spell continues.

The warmest overnight temperature was five degrees at Johnstown Castle at 1am.

Highest temperatures today are expected to be between three and six degrees.

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