Blizzard alert as temperatures plummet
Warnings are issued for high winds, snow and ice
A snow and ice warning has been issued for Northern Ireland with temperatures expected to plunge below zero today - and stay there.
UK Met Office forecaster Filotas Paschos said that temperatures would hardly rise above freezing.
And a yellow wind warning was issued for parts of Londonderry and Antrim last night, with gusts of up to 70mph predicted.
Yellow warnings for snow and ice were also issued for Northern Ireland from midnight tonight to 6pm tomorrow.
A covering of snow is possible anywhere by this morning with 2cm to 5cm across northern and western counties, and up to 10cm possible on high ground.
"It's going to be a proper winter's day," Mr Paschos told the Belfast Telegraph.
"There has already been sleet and snow in the Belfast area, and with temperatures falling to freezing overnight, the snow is likely to lie - even low-lying areas may have 1cm to 2cm."
Temperatures are expected to hover around -1C to -2C degrees away from the coasts.
"It will feel very cold, especially in the wind," he explained.
Mr Paschos also warned that high inland areas such as the Antrim Hills and the Sperrins could see up to 5cm (two inches) of snow.
An ice and snow warning is in force for the province and will remain active throughout today.
In the afternoon, the showers will fade as high pressure builds from the west through the evening.
In the Republic, Met Eireann said an orange weather warning will remain in place until 6pm today.
Counties Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Longford, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo are expected to be the worst hit with snowfall likely to cause accumulations of 4cm to 8cm.
Forecasters have said temperatures will drop to zero or below overnight for most of the country, while they will fall as low as -3C in Donegal throughout the day.
A Met Eireann spokesman added: "On Saturday, any frost and ice will clear during the morning, giving way to a mostly dry, bright day with sunny intervals.
"But some further wintry showers will occur, mainly in the north and north east."
The weekend will see little improvement in conditions in Northern Ireland, according to the UK Met Office.
Its outlook for the province says it will become a little drier tomorrow due to high pressure, but the north east will experience a few snow showers at first.
Sunday will continue the pattern, cold with rain and hill snow, while Monday too is expected to be very cold with wintry showers.