The so-called 'Beast from the East' is expected to hit Ireland from tomorrow
Met Éireann has upgraded its weather warning for several counties ahead of expected 'exceptionally cold' weather later this week.
The so-called 'Beast from the East' is set to bring freezing temperatures, which could drop to -10 degrees in parts of the country on Wednesday.
The worst conditions are expected on Thursday.
The Government's Emergency Co-ordination Group for Severe Weather is meeting this morning to discuss how to respond to the expected extreme weather.
A status orange snow-ice warning has now been issued for Dublin, Carlow, Kildare, Laois, Louth, Wicklow and Meath.
The warning comes into effect from 3pm tomorrow (Tuesday), with scattered snow showers set to bring accumulations of 4 to 6 cm by Wednesday morning.
A lower-level status yellow warning applies to Kilkenny, Longford, Wexford, Offaly, Westmeath, Cork, Tipperary and Waterford, where accumulations of up to 3 cm are expected.
A previous weather advisory warned of freezing conditions for the entire country until Saturday, with forecasters saying updates will follow the latest pair of warnings.
Speaking about the forecast for 'exceptionally cold' conditions, Met Éireann's Pat Clarke explained: "Very cold air is heading our way, all the way from Siberia and northern Russia.
"Very severe and penetrating frost at night, and values at day will struggle - even on Wednesday and Thursday, they'll be lucky to get to zero or +1 [degrees] on those days."
The Government says the Housing Department is making contact with local authorities to ensure all homeless people and rough sleepers will have shelter and accommodation during the cold spell.
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy says homeless people will be prioritised during the extreme weather, explaining that there will be extra beds and rough sleeper teams checking on the most vulnerable.
Speaking ahead of today's emergency group meeting, Minister Murphy said: "It's looking like an extreme snow event that's going to hit us from Tuesday onwards.
"We have had a cold weather initiative in place since about December, so what it means is just ramping up that initiative."
He also confirmed that people won’t be asked to leave shelters during the day.
Meanwhile, members of the public are being urged to visit the 'Winter Ready' website to help prepare for the expected severe weather.
It’s expected schools will only close on a case-by-case basis, depending on where the snow hits.