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Monday 6 February 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland File photo of a cyclist on an icy road in Dublin
# freezin
Status Yellow ice warning to take effect at midnight tomorrow
Showers of hail, sleet and snow are forecast for the second half of the week.

LAST UPDATE | Dec 6th 2022, 6:05 PM

A WINTER WEATHER advisory issued on Sunday remains in place for the entire country, and today two initial colour-coded warnings covering tomorrow night and Thursday night have also been issued. 

Met Éireann warns that it will be “very cold into early next week as an Arctic airmass sets in, bringing sharp to severe frosts, and ice or black ice on roads and footpaths”.

Some showers of hail, sleet, and snow will also occur and there is potential for freezing fog too, especially this weekend. 

A status yellow ice warning will come into force on midnight tomorrow (12am Thursday) and will be in effect until 12pm Thursday.

Additionally, a nationwide Status Yellow low temperature/ice warning has also been issued, to take effect at 10pm on Thursday until 10am on Friday.

There will be hazardous conditions, with the potential for black ice and freezing rain on surfaces.

Met Éireann has also advised that temperatures will widely fall to -4 degrees Celsius.

Arctic air

Met Éireann’s head of forecasting Evelyn Cusack said yesterday that a cold front will hit Ireland on Wednesday, bringing temperatures as low as -7 degrees.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio, she said: “That’s going to introduce Arctic air, the air mass will be coming directly down from the Arctic,” she said.

“That’s coming down into all of northern Europe and Ireland and the UK. That’s going to introduce very cold weather for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and next Monday, possibly longer.

“We will have daytime temperatures really close enough to zero, just low single figures at best. The nighttime temperatures will be gradually dropping down.”

Met Éireann meteorologist Andrew Doran Sherlock warned that “the most severe impacts will be on driving conditions which could be treacherous in places on Thursday morning, particularly during commute times.”

Safety

Keith Leonard, the national director for fire and emergency management at the Department of Housing, said that Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and local authorities are working to treat roads, but warned that driving conditions will be hazardous.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, he said that public transport operators have activated their severe weather plans and have contingency arrangements for the weather.

“Black ice is going to be a key hazard on a lot of roads and [is] often very difficult to see.”

Leonard appealed to motorists to slow down, be aware of other road users and to allow extra time to make their journeys.

He also said people should check on their vulnerable neighbours: “Check that their house is warm, check that they have groceries.

“The conditions are going to be very difficult for elderly people and people with disabilities.”

He urged people to keep themselves warm, noting that the Department of Social Protection has schemes in place for those struggling to meet the cost of heating their home. “Nobody will be cut off this winter because they can’t afford to heat their houses.”

Road conditions

The RSA has echoed Leonard’s advice and warned that road users should watch out for black ice. 

A spokesperson said: “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. The sheltered / shaded areas on roads, under trees and adjacent to high walls are prone to black ice.”

The RSA has issued advice for motorists dealing with icy conditions, which includes:

  • Clearing windows and mirrors of any ice, and carrying a screen scraper and de-icer.
  • Remember it takes longer to stop in icy conditions. Manoeuvre gently, slow down and increase your braking distance.
  • Avoid too much steering, harsh braking, and acceleration.
  • Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin. Select a low gear when travelling downhill especially if through bends.
  • Check tyres and replace them if the tread depth falls below 3mm. 
  • Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and allow extra space when overtaking them.

Rough sleepers

Ahead of the cold snap, the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) has said there will be a bed available to everyone who wants one in the coming weeks.

The DRHE makes additional beds available each winter through its cold weather strategy.

A spokesperson said: “The DRHE has arrangements in place for Extreme Weather across the Dublin Region. All emergency accommodation is provided on a 24 basis with meals. Extreme weather beds are provided by NGO partners on behalf of the DRHE.

“Additional permanent beds are available from Monday under the Winter Strategy. We encourage people to contact us early in the day on 1800 707 707.”

Tented accommodation 

Meanwhile, 100 international protection applicants have been moved from tented accommodation in Athlone. 

A Department of Children spokesperson said there are 25 residents remaining at the site who are to be “moved in the coming days”.

Once that takes place, the use of tents was”less than ideal” and that it “will cease” to operate once the current residents are all re-accommodated.

As reported by The Journal last month, tented accommodation has been criticised as being “inhumane” by campaigners.

“Officials continue to seek accommodation solutions to the increasing numbers of IP arrivals,” the spokesperson said.

“Given the significantly increased numbers of arrivals in the context of accommodation shortages, the Department has no option but to consider all offers of accommodation.

The Department is availing of all offers of accommodation made to it, including the use of office buildings and sports facilities to address the accommodation shortfall.

The statement added: “While the current reliance on emergency settings is less than ideal, these options are necessary in order to provide shelter to international protection arrivals and to prevent homelessness. 

“Tented accommodation will cease to operate once the current residents are all re-accommodated.”

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