A COLD snap will grip the country from tonight with severe frost, sleet and snow showers on the way -- but it will not be as bad as the last time.
That was the message today from Met Eireann as Ireland braced itself for another spell of freezing weather with temperatures tonight falling as low as -5C in places.
The new spell of cold weather has sparked fears that the snow and freezing temperatures could delay water repairs with supply restrictions continuing in Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare for the immediate future.
Nothing will happen today on the weather front but snow showers are likely from tomorrow evening, forecaster John Eagleton told the Herald today.
Dublin will be on the northern fringes of any snow activity which will come up from the south, he said.
"There will be snow and the cold snap will last through the weekend and there will be a return to relatively milder weather on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, which will see a jump in temperatures," Mr Eagleton said.
The snow may not reach as far as northern Leinster and towns such as Dundalk.
Tonight, Dublin will see temperatures drop below freezing with patches of freezing fog in places.
Tomorrow morning will see little change for most places but outbreaks of rain, sleet and snow will develop in the south of the country later in the day.
Snowfalls of up to 10cm are possible.
The Dublin area will see "sporadic" snowfall on higher ground, but also falling lower down, Met Eireann said.
Temperatures will only get up to 2 or 3C, so snow will lie on the ground when it occurs, finally clearing slowly over the weekend.
Saturday night will be cold and very frosty, with Sunday's weather fairly dry and bright but cold.
The early days of next week will see temperatures jump to 9 or 10C during the day, but there will also be wet weather, with heavy rain and showers from Monday through to Wednesday.
The National Roads Authority said there was plenty of salt to keep the main roads open.
Some 50,000 tonnes are in the country, with more expected to arrive in the coming weeks. Around 2,000 tonnes a night are being spread on main roads.
Meanwhile, repair works continued apace today in Dublin and other areas still suffering from water restrictions.
Engineers have warned that 10 water mains are still bursting every day in Dublin and that the water crisis is set to continue into next week.
Dublin City Council said that following the return to work on Tuesday morning for most businesses there was the expected rise in demand, "however this wasn't as bad as had been feared and a small quantity of water was put into storage over the day".
"It will be a number of days before the full impact, of this rise in demand, on drinking water storage levels can be assessed," it said.
"It is therefore necessary to continue with restrictions for the rest of this week at least. The situation will be reviewed on Friday morning," the City Council said.