Blizzards from Storm Emma and freezing Siberian winds could close schools later this week as Met Eireann considers issuing a Status Red weather alert as the forecast is for the worst conditions since 1982.
Snow is expected to arrive today as temperatures plunge to -7C with a real-feel closer to -16C.
On Tuesday and Wednesday there will be cold daytime temperatures and some snowfall.
A Status Orange weather warning has been issued for Dublin, Carlow, Kildare, Laois, Louth, Wicklow and Meath from 3pm Tuesday with scattered snow showers leading to accumulations of 4 to 6 cm by Wednesday morning.
Wednesday will be one of the coldest days of the year with the top temperatures around -1 to +2C and an easterly chill making it feel considerably colder. There will be scattered falls of snow across Ireland but these will be heaviest and most frequent across Leinster and Dublin.
Wednesday night will be extremely cold with temperatures falling to -7C with more snow showers expected, again heaviest across the eastern half of the country.
As Storm Emma arrives from the south, the weather is set to worsen on Thursday, with easterly winds and scattered snow showers becoming increasingly heavy and frequent during the day. It will be remain bitterly cold and conditions will be disruptive and treacherous with significant accumulations of snow after dark. Strong easterly winds will lead to blizzard conditions and drifting snow.
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Early indications are for the heavy snowfalls and very windy conditions continuing into Friday.
Brighter conditions, with scattered showers, should however develop over Munster and south Leinster in the afternoon, with this clearance expected to extend northwards later in the day and overnight. Highest temperatures will range only 1 to 4 degrees Celsius with the added wind chill factor making it feel colder.
The weekend will be a little less cold, with wintry showers becoming more scattered.