| 5.7°C Dublin

Wrap up... snow's on the way in big freeze

A BIG freeze is set to hit the country this weekend with snow and sleet on the way.

And forecasters have warned that this winter could rival last year's cold snap, as ground temperatures plummet as low as -10C at night.

Temperatures have already dropped well below the seasonal average and could fall further, Met Eireann has warned.

A weather forecaster told the Herald that maximum temperatures in November should average between 8C and 10C, but they have already nosedived to near freezing.

Temperatures around Dublin will be no higher than 3C during the day this week, and dropping to 1C next week.

The chill has been blamed on a cold Arctic northeast airflow settling over Ireland and the UK, which is moving cold Scandinavian air our way.

While Scotland and northern England will be worst hit, Ireland will not escape.

While it is too early to tell if Ireland will face a three-month wintry spell as it did last year, current conditions suggest that we may have a white and frosty Christmas and New Year.

"Last year we had a prolonged spell of cold weather and this could be the beginning of another one but we cannot predict that far ahead," a Met Eireann spokeswoman said.

"The bad weather will definitely last through to next week with temperatures dropping to 2C this weekend."



Slippery

Snow and sleet have already been predicted for the northern half of the country this week while the rest will be washed down with heavy showers.

Nights will be extremely cold with sub-zero temperatures.

The AA has advised motorists to proceed with caution as roads around Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare and Louth are particularly wet and slippery.

hnews@herald.ie