Bitterly cold temperatures, high winds and heavy snow are expected in Ireland over the weekend as “The Big Freeze Part 2” hits Ireland and is expected to last until after Christmas.
Severe weather alerts have been issued as the winter storm is expected to cause havoc on Ireland's roads, which are now ungritted.
Forecaster Eoin Sherlock warned that the Arctic wind will make it feel “a lot colder” than it did during Ireland’s last cold spell.
This new band of snow came inland from the north and north-west yesterday afternoon. Heavy snowfalls were recorded in Ulster last night, as well as parts of the midlands, north Leinster and west Munster.
Ultster, Mayo and Leitrim have all been affected. Winds gusting to gale force conditions are creating blizzard conditions in some places.
Another band of snow is expected to affect the rest of the country on Friday afternoon and night. By Saturday much of the country will be experiencing snow.
Joan Blackburn from Met Eireann, Ireland’s meteorological services, said this cold snap is being brought by winds from the Arctic north. It is expected that it will snow for the next four or five days. Met Eireann expects most areas to receive 3 to 10 cm of snow with larger amounts on higher ground.
Nighttime temperatures are expected to be as low as -10C (14F) in some areas.
Belfast City Airport and Belfast International Airport have cancelled all flights due to the snow. The hope that by Friday afternoon flights will resume. Ireland West Airport has also advised that there may be disruptions to their schedule today. Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports remain open with some delays due to bad weather across Europe. Passengers have been advised to check their flight status before departing for their airport.
Due to the past cold snap the National Roads Authority and County Councils have run low on salt to grit the roads. Road will not be treated until this salt arrives. This year there are 15,000 tonnes of salt in storage, in comparison to 5,000 tonnes last year. So far this year 75,000 tonnes of salt have been used at a cost of $13.3 million.
Michael Phillips, transport mangers at Dublin City Council has advised people not to drive unless necessary during the cold weather, to use public transport and to keep footpaths outside their homes and businesses clear.