A status yellow ice warning for much of Ireland has come into effect with freezing temperatures, widespread frost and icy surfaces forecast on Friday night and early Saturday.
The Met Éireann warning kicked in at 7pm and runs until 10am on Saturday. It covers counties Cavan, Donegal, Monaghan, all of Connacht, Kildare, Laois, Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly and Westmeath.
Forecasters warned the weather could create “hazardous” for motorists.
In Northern Ireland, a Met Office status yellow ice warning is in place across all six counties until 10am on Saturday. “Ice is likely to be a hazard where snow has fallen overnight,” it states.
Police have warned drivers to take extra care on the roads due to snow, especially on roads which may not have been gritted. More than 180 schools closed on Friday in the North, mainly in Belfast and counties Antrim, Armagh and Down.
The State body responsible for crisis management said it is expected the weather-related disruption would be “minimal”.
Keith Leonard, of the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management Crisis Management Team, said public transport has largely been working well.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland was treating the main national routes while local authorities were treating secondary roads, said Mr Leonard.
However, he said there was a limit to coverage and not every road could be treated. Even where roads had been treated they could still be slippery, he added. “A treated road is no guarantee of safety.”
A status orange snow and ice warning for Dublin and Wicklow had been in place until 8am on Friday, with a status yellow weather warning for ice for the entire country expiring at midday.
Met Éireann said Friday night would be a cold one for many with frost and icy stretches forming.
“Mostly dry to start with clear spells, however, cloud will gradually thicken from the southwest, with rain pushing into Munster, west Connacht and south Leinster,” it said. “The rain will fall as a mix of sleet and snow in places.”
It said there would be lowest temperatures of minus five to zero degrees, but that it would be colder locally in the northeast where skies are to remain clear for the longest period.
The forecaster said Saturday would be cold with frost and icy stretches at first, especially over the northern half of the country.
“Through the morning, rain, sleet and snow will spread northeastwards to all areas, with some small accumulations possible in parts of Connacht, Ulster and Leinster. Rain will clear from most areas from the southwest through the afternoon and evening.”
It said the mildest conditions on Saturday would be found in Munster, with highest temperatures of nine to 11 degrees.
“Afternoon temperatures elsewhere will range from 1 to 5 degrees before becoming milder as the rain clears.”
Conditions are expected to become milder from Saturday night on with spells of rain and blustery conditions feeding in from the Atlantic at times.
“Any remaining rain and sleet will clear to the northeast early in the night. Drier weather will follow from the southwest with clear spells developing.”
Sunday will get off to a largely dry start but conditions are forecast to “turn wet and windy” later in the day.
“Rain will spread from the west through the morning and afternoon, with the possibility of some heavier falls later in the evening. A much milder day with highest daytime temperatures of seven degrees in the north to 11 degrees in the south.”
Cold weather arrangements are in place throughout the country to ensure there is no need for rough sleeping during the cold spell.
The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) said temporary contingency beds were available for the duration of the weather alert by its NGO partners.
Homeless charity Dublin Simon said a lot of people it works with took up beds on Thursday night – “some for the first time in a long time”.
“We would advise the public to please contact the Dublin Simon Outreach team via the Rough Sleeper Alerts app if they see someone bedded down, or if they themselves are bedded down,” it said in a statement.