Ireland is in the grip of an arctic storm with snow causing havoc across the country.

Weather forecasters have issued warnings after a night of strong winds and heavy snowstorms in many places.

Icy road conditions caused havoc for many commuters on Tuesday morning with widespread damaging gusts of winds forecast according to the Irish Independent.

The paper reports that motorists have been warned about widespread black ice as temperatures drop below zero.

State weather bureau Met Eireann issued an orange alert for the first time on Monday morning as part of a new international coded traffic-light system ranging from green to red for grading weather events.

The paper reports that an orange alert mean gusts of up to 80mph and ‘significant falls of snow’ with slippery paths and icy roads.

The forecast as then downgraded to a yellow alert for Munster, Leinster, Connacht, Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan, with extremely high west to northwest winds and severe gusts in Connacht, Donegal and along the eastern coast of Munster.

Homes have been left without electricity across the north-west which has been worst affected.

Dozens of trawlers were forced to return to port in Donegal.

Heavy wintry showers of hail, sleet and snow are expected to develop in the north  with snow showers in many areas.