IRELAND IS in store for a cold spell with the potential for hail, sleet and snow in the second half of this week according to Met Éireann.
The national forecaster has issued a winter weather advisory which is in place from now until 11.30pm on Saturday for the entire country as an arctic airmass begins to set in.
Very cold and widespread frost and icy stretches on roads are to set in today, with dry weather expected, but there will be wintry showers at times (particularly in the north and northwest).
Tuesday night will be very cold with widespread frost, as temperatures drop to between -3 and +2 degrees. It will be generally dry and clear, but will become cloudier with isolated showers in the northwest later, and there will be a light northerly wind.
On Wednesday, temperatures will reach only 2 to 5 degrees, in a light north to northwest wind. It will be dry and sunny in most places, but there will be scattered showers in northern and western coastal areas. The showers will turn increasingly wintry later in the day, with snow likely on high ground.
Wednesday night will then see bitterly cold temperatures falling below zero degrees countryside, or as low as -3 or -4 degrees in some places.
This will continue into Thursday, with very could temperatures remaining in low single figures, and showers confined to coastal parts of the northwest, north and east.
Thursday night will again be bitterly cold, with minimum temperatures of -4 to -2 degrees, and most areas being dry and clear.
Friday will stay very cold, with Met Éireann saying there is little change expected for the weekend.
In Northern Ireland, the UK Met Office has triggered a cold weather alert from 6pm on Wednesday, to 9am on Monday, 12 December.
As a result of the cold spell, the Director of the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive has said she believes it will be able to provide a bed for everyone who wants one ahead of an expected cold snap later this week.
The DRHE is to meet groups working with homeless people today to put an emergency plan in place ahead of the freezing weather.