Drivers warned to take care as icy spell takes grip

Subzero temperatures that caused hazardous driving conditions across large parts of Ireland yesterday are likely to persist for some time today.

However, weather forecasters have predicted the worst of the snowfalls are over, although freezing conditions are expected to last a little longer.

Motorists are still being advised to take extra care as overnight temperatures were expected to dip to -5C.

A large number of crashes were reported in the Midlands with almost a dozen incidents occurring on the M4 Dublin- Sligo road between Enfield and Leixlip.

Large falls of snow were reported in several counties as Met Éireann said temperatures were well below normal for the middle of March.

Heavy snow showers made conditions treacherous in several parts of the country, including Ashbourne, Co Meath; Naas, Co Kildare and Drogheda and Dundalk.

Other areas affected by snow and freezing temperatures were Tullamore, Co Offaly, and Baltinglass, Co Wicklow, while motorists were advised to avoid the Sally Gap and Wicklow Gap, although both routes remained passable.

Met Éireann issued a weather alert yesterday due to “abnormally low” temperatures combined with strong winds in Leinster and eastern parts of Ulster and Munster.

The “grade yellow” warning — the third highest — is part of a new scheme to alert the public to severe weather.

AA Roadwatch has reminded motorists to continue to drive with caution as stopping distances are 10 times longer in ice and snow.

The arctic conditions also led to cancellations and delays to a number of flights at Dublin Airport as the main runway had to be cleared of snow leading to the closure of the airport for 30 minutes. Several other flights were diverted to Shannon.

Irish Ferries was forced to cancel all Swift sailings on its Dublin-Holyhead route. Passengers were being accommodated on its Ulysses cruise ferry.

Sailings on other Irish Ferries services, including Rosslare- Pembroke and Rosslare-Cherbourg experienced some delays, although normal schedules are expected to operate today.

Stena sailings between Dublin and Holyhead also faced delays, while crossings on its Rosslare-Fishguard route were cancelled yesterday.


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