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Nationwide low temperature and ice warning in place until noon tomorrow

Snow on Lugnaquilla in Wicklow yesterday (
Snow on Lugnaquilla in Wicklow yesterday (

It "is highly unlikely" homes will be hit by blackouts amid weather warnings, the Tánaiste has said, but he has noted that homes, farms and small businesses being affected "can't be ruled out".

Treacherous conditions will set in across Ireland tonight, according to Met Éireann, with three weather warnings active today.

A Status Yellow low temperature and ice warning for Ireland came into effect at 10pm this evening and runs until noon tomorrow.

A separate Status Yellow snow and ice warning for Donegal also began at 9pm, with scattered sleet and snow showers predicted, especially on high ground.

The warning for Donegal remains in place until midday Saturday.

Another Status Yellow snow and ice warning for Dublin and Wicklow is in place since 9pm until 6am tomorrow with Met Éireann predicting wintry showers with snow in places leading to hazardous driving conditions.

In Northern Ireland, the UK Met Office has a yellow ice warning for counties Antrim, Down, Tyrone and Derry in place since 4pm today until midday Saturday.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar confirmed that the Government has been advised by EirGrid and the energy regulator that there will be periods when the margin between supply and demand is going to be tight.

"We did come close to an amber alert in the last couple of days - have not had one since August - although that may happen," Mr Varadkar told the Dáil.

"We can't guarantee" that there won't be a red alert, he added.

If this occurs, "where the demand for electricity outstretches the amount we can generate, the first port of call is to power down the large energy users which are the data centres that have their own back up electricity".

A broader winter weather advisory from Met Éireann has been in place since last Saturday which states it will remain very cold into early next week due to an Arctic airmass, bringing sharp to severe frosts and ice or black ice on roads and footpaths.

Some showers of hail, sleet, and snow will occur, mainly in coastal counties and freezing fog is likely at times.

Conditions are treacherous tonight, Met Éireann said, with a severe frost setting in quickly after dark along with some icy stretches.

Temperatures are predicted to drop to -5 to -2 degrees in a light northerly breeze.

Tomorrow will be very cold with icy stretches, some lying snow and patches of freezing fog in parts.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Keith Leonard of the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management said the margins between power supply and demand would be tight "throughout the winter".

However he said that currently supply is "well able to cope".

Mr Leonard said that if there was an issue with supply, the "first step would be the throttling-back of demand for large commercial customers".

"Only after that had an effect would there be a move to have any interruption to the domestic supply, but that's not flagged at the moment," he said.

Mr Leonard said that a lot of preparation work has been done ahead of the cold weather, with local authorities and Met Éireann working in tandem.

"The local authority severe weather assessment teams have been activated and Transport Infrastructure Ireland and local authorities are treating roads in order to keep them open," he said.

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Motorists urged to take care on untreated roads

The Road Safety Authority said road users should expect icy roads and advised extra caution on untreated roads.

It said that black ice is difficult to see and if a road looks "polished or glossy" it could be "one of winter's worst hazards".

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Meteorologist Siobhan Ryan said it would not be surprising if, later tonight, a dusting of snow was seen in parts of the east.

Over the weekend, Ms Ryan said slack winds would bring a "new set of problems" saying there could be fog leading to impaired visibility.

Weather information and a full 7-day forecast