Temperatures across the county are set to plummet tonight with warnings of ‘thundersnow.’

Take care on the roads and take precautionary measures – Met Eireann has increased its weather alert for Donegal to an Orange Warning.

The national forecaster says Donegal and the north-west in general can expect hail, sleet and snow with snow expected to settle at lower levels.

The forecast warns “Very cold, wintry weather from Wednesday evening onwards until Friday night. Showers of hail, sleet and snow will occur, with moderate accumulations to lower levels inland, more significant amounts on high ground, where there’s a risk of drifting and blizzard conditions at times. Some scattered thunderstorms also.”

And the experts say Ireland could even be walloped with a rare outbreak of “thundersnow” this week.

The rare phenomenon occurs when thunderstorms – which are much more common in summer months – form in wintry conditions.

If the weather is cold, the rain associated with a thunderstorm can then fall as snow and therefore is called thundersnow.

Donegal County Council are reminding all road users to take extra care on the roads and to allow more time for their journeys during these wintry conditions.

Motorists and road users in Donegal can stay up to date on routes to be gritted by checking the Donegal Winter Gritting map which is an interactive map available on www.donegalcoco.ie

This map is linked to the Council’s social media platforms and provides information on routes and length of routes to be gritted on any given night as well as an hourly forecast feed for most areas of the county so that users can check their local weather forecast for the next 12 to 24 hours. It also shows locations where sand and grit stock is available for use by the public.

Road users can also view live road conditions at a number of locations around the county and across the northwest via the Council’s website. Locations include N56 at Gaoth Dobhair, N15 at Bundoran, N 15 at Lough Mourne, N15 at Killygordon, N13 at An Grianan Aileach, A515 Foyle Bridge and A6 at Glenshane Pass.

These resources have been developed over the last number of years with a view to providing road users and motorists with the necessary information to make safe driving decisions during the winter months.

Stay up to date on road conditions and gritting plans this winter by following DCC on Twitter @roadsdcc @donegalcouncil or by following Donegal County Council on Facebook.