As Ireland’s big freeze continues, heavy snowfall hit the west coast overnight making many routes impassable. Black ice and refrozen snow have resulted in treacherous conditions for motorists as Met Eireann warn that the freezing conditions could hang over the country for up to a week.
Forecasters expect between 2-4 inches of fresh snow to hit most of the country today. Temperatures across parts of the western coast could reach as high as 8 degrees Celsius today however nightfall will see a return to sub-zero lows.
The National Roads Authority (NRA) has said that more than half of it’s 80,0000 tonnes of salt has already being used throughout the country. The state is using about 3,500 tonnes a day salting the countries primary and secondary routes.
Minister for the Environment, John Gormley announced that an additional $20 million will be given to local authorities to cover the exceptional costs associated with the cold snap.
“The current cold weather is starting to break records, it has been almost 40 years since we have had snow and ice so early in the winter, and it is unusual for the cold weather to persist so intensely without respite. And the forecasts tell us this cold snap will last for at least a further week,” he said.
“Local authority staff had been working around the clock with other State bodies and transport agencies to ensure disruption was minimized," he added.
Dublin airport is open this morning following extensive clearance of snow and ice off the main runway. Passengers were advised to contact their airline before travelling to the airport.
Irish rail services were running this morning with reports of fifteen to thirty minute delays on city center services. The Luas tram service, Dublin bus and Bus Eireann are operating limited services on all their routes.
The Electricity Supply Board (ESB), Bord Gáis and Airtricity announced last night they are suspending service disconnections to customers in arrears during the current cold snap.
Hundreds of schools and educational institutions remained closed today with the Department of Education saying schools will not be obliged to make up the days lost due to weather conditions.
Postal services throughout the country have been severely curtailed, with no post been delivered in parts of Leinster including Dublin, Wexford and Waterford.
VHI Swift-care clinics around Ireland have treated over 300 people with fractures or sprains since last weekend.
Met Eireann are forecasting scattered wintry showers moving eastwards across the country through the night with yet more snow accumulations. A sharp to severe frost and icy conditions will persist on untreated roads and pavements. They predict lowest temperatures will range from 0 to -6 degrees.