Met Éireann has issued two status orange snow and ice warnings for much of the country, as six people were rescued from Carrauntoohil in an eight-hour operation.
One weather alert, in place for Clare, Donegal, Monaghan, Cavan, Longford, Louth, Meath, Westmeath and Connacht, will come into effect at 11am on Thursday morning.
The warning will remain in place until 12am on Friday, bringing possible “travel disruption” and “poor visibility” as a result.
A second status orange warning has been issued for Leinster, and is in place from midnight on Thursday until 10am on Friday.
“Further spells of sleet and snow today combined with strong northerly winds. Significant accumulations of snow are expected in some areas along with icy conditions,” Met Éireann said.
“Lying snow and sub-zero temperatures overnight” will lead “to icy stretches”.
A status yellow snow and ice warning for the entire country will remain in place until 12pm on Friday.
Lovely snowy morning at Rockmount. Co. Clare #sneachta #snow
Video courtesy of Cathal McMahan pic.twitter.com/f0aJmcZaKR
— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) March 9, 2023
It comes as six people were saved from Carrauntoohil, Co Kerry last night following an eight-hour rescue operation.
One woman found herself stuck on top of Carrauntoohil in the midst of heavy snowfall.
She was rescued from Ireland’s highest mountain in the early hours of this morning, after falling and injuring herself.
The woman was among a party of six stuck in a gully in the Hags Glen area. They were coming down a steep gully adjacent to The Bone when they made a navigational error and took a wrong turn and ended up stuck in the gully
The full rescue team was called out at 4.15pm Wednesday and assembled, spokesman Gerry Christie of Kerry Mountain Rescue said. The party had to be led 200 meters up the mountain again before being led safely down to Cronin’s Yard.
The group were brought to safety at 1.30am by 26 members of Kerry Mountain Rescue.
Conditions on the mountains are “extremely challenging”, rescuers said.
“Apart from being very cold and fatigued, thankfully none of the casualties were injured,” a spokesperson said.
Mr Christie described the rescue as “a long and difficult operation”.
He also rejected condemnation on radio and social media about the people going on the mountain in the first place on Wednesday when the forecast was so poor and there were weather warnings.
The mountain was not particularly treacherous at the time and some climbers liked to go up in snow conditions, he said.
Meanwhile, in Co Clare, two minor collisions were reported on the Kilrush Road outside Lisseycasey owing to the weather conditions.
Visibility is poor in the south side of Kerry this morning, with several reports of trucks jack-knifing on North Kerry and West Limerick roads.
Ballybunion, Listowel, Athea, Abbeyfeale are worst affected by these conditions.
The Short Mountain Road from Castlemaine, Co Kerry, remains closed.
The news follows heavy snowfall, falling in patches across the country this morning, following warnings that over 10cm of snow is set to land over the next 24 hours.
Snow was reported in a swathe across the southern half of the country, from Ballylynan, Co Laois to parts of North Kerry.
From Clare to Waterford, Munster residents reported a thick layer of snow in their back gardens, taking to Twitter to showcase their delight.
Cork residents took to Twitter to share their disappointment, with only rain falling so far in the Rebel county.
❄️ A white start in North Kerry this morning! ❄️ #sneachta #snow #kerry #ireland pic.twitter.com/NJIs8JDdCI
— WeatherAlertsIreland (@IrelandAlerts) March 9, 2023
Reports of snow in Limerick and Clare already coming in. This photo was taken by Paddy in Limerick in the last hour. pic.twitter.com/fIR88PxWs4
— Carlow Weather (@CarlowWeather) March 9, 2023
Templemore, Co Tipp pic.twitter.com/xc00ezAmUX
— Noelle Grey (@NoelleGrey2) March 9, 2023
Temperatures tonight are expected to drop to lows of -4C to 0C with the coldest weather in the west.
Multiple secondary schools across Munster have announced closures due to heavy levels of snowfall on Wednesday night.
Numerous schools in West Limerick have made the decision to close today, including Coláiste Íde agus Iosef in Abbeyfeale, Hazelwood college in Dromcolligher and Desmond College, Newcastlewest.
A number of primary schools have also been closed due to the adverse conditions.
Limerick County Council have warned those steering heavy-goods vehicles to avoid the N21 in Barna, Co Limerick as it is “impassable” due to heavy snowfall.
In a statement posted to Twitter, the organisation said: “Salting and ploughing is being carried out by our crews from Limerick City and County Council. They expect to have the road cleared shortly.”
Met Éireann spokesperson Gerry Murphy has warned of snow and sleet showers across much of the country today.
Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland, he revealed the country is “in the grip” of a cold snap which will last until the end of the week.
A band of rain which has begun moving northwards across the country has begun falling as sleet and snow as temperatures drop, he explained.
The north midlands, Connacht and Ulster will experience the worst of this weather which will extend across the remainder of the country this evening with “disruptive” snow falls on the east coast tonight.
As the band crosses the country there will be improved conditions in the south west, he added.
Cork County Council have assured motorists they will be salting designated priority routes but are advising motorists to exercise extreme caution due to prolonged periods of low temperatures, rain, sleet and snow.
“Conditions like these can be challenging to treat with intermittent rainfall/snow and freezing conditions likely between salting treatments that may result in icy conditions,” a spokesperson said.