Winter is coming, say forecasters
on 09/01/2013 00:00:00
The dramatic change has prompted road safety chiefs to issue alerts to motorists about the dangers of frost, ice and fog for the rest of the week.
Met Éireann forecaster Pat Clarke said the shift signalled a return to normal conditions for this time of year. "It's normal winter weather, but it's just a big change from what we had," he said.
Mr Clarke said daytime temperatures between 10C and 13C over the past few weeks - with night-time temperatures between 7C and 10C - were "very, very unusual" for late December and early January.
The mild conditions were a result of southerly winds bringing in rain and cloud.
While frost, ice, and fog are expected, there is no imminent sign of snow, although Mr Clarke says it is too early to say if Ireland will escape widespread snow in coming months.
The cold snap is forecast to last until at least next week, with daytime temperatures between 7C and 10C.
After dark, the mercury will plunge to between freezing and -3C.
The Road Safety Authority urged drivers to be particularly aware of the risk of black ice on roads.
"If the road looks polished or glossy, it could be black ice, one of winter's worst hazards," said a spokesman.
The RSA also called on anyone setting off on a journey in the coming days to check up-to-date weather forecasts, make sure their vehicle windows and mirrors are cleared, lights are working, tyres are checked, and to slow down and drive gently.