Weather outside to remain frightful

THOUSANDS of Irish commuters and one very special guest are being urged to stay safe this evening, after a fresh flurry of wintry weather conditions was predicted.

On the eve of one of the country’s busiest travel periods of the year, gardaí yesterday asked those travelling over the next 48 hours to be aware of heavy frost, black ice, sleet and scattered snow showers.

Hours before Christmas Eve large parts of the country were still covered in snow, with overnight showers expected in the west, the midlands and parts of Donegal. And with Met Éireann predicting the wintry weather to continue until at least the end of the week, gardaí have urged those travelling by road, bus, rail and even sleigh to take extra precautions over the coming days.

The message was repeated by Road Safety Authority (RSA) chief executive Noel Brett who said people should only make long journeys if absolutely necessary.

“I would urge drivers to check local weather and traffic reports before setting out on a journey and when travelling please slow down and keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front.

“Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists should consider postponing their journey if road conditions are very poor and if you do use the roads make sure you are wearing a high visibility jacket to be seen,” he said.

The sudden cold snap – which has seen Irish temperatures dip to below -6C and led to a series of Dublin airport cancellations due to conditions across Europe – means there is a real possibility the country could wake up tomorrow to a blanket of Christmas snow.

Last week Paddy Power paid out more than €100,000 to those who had already bet on a White Christmas, with the firm adding that there had been a record number of people taking a punt this year.

The weather prediction appeared to be coming true yesterday with temperatures plummeting.

Temperatures in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, were as low as -4.7C and -6.3C in Longford.

Black ice was also apparent in Schull, Bantry and Durrus in Co Cork, with freezing fog in some locations making driving conditions extremely dangerous.


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