Belfast Telegraph

Metre of snow forecast as Ireland weathers worst storms in more than 30 years

More than 250 soldiers have been deployed to help ensure key staff can get to hospitals and to house-bound patients.

Snow one metre deep is forecast for parts of Ireland in the worst winter storms in more than three decades.

The entire country has been put under a red alert weather warning, the highest level, as the most severe snow storm in 36 years spread across the island.

Blizzard conditions swept across Ireland on Thursday night as polar air brought by the so-called Beast From The East weather system mixed with 100km gales from Storm Emma.

Temperatures dropped below minus 5C and there were strong gale force winds.

The red weather alert issued by Met Eireann is in place in Leinster and Munster, covering the east and south of the country, until 6pm on Friday.

The alert is in place in Connacht in the west and the border counties with Northern Ireland until 6am.

Schools and colleges across the country will remain closed for a second day, and commuters are also facing further disruptions.

Dublin Bus, some Bus Eireann services, Irish Rail, Dart and Luas trams were cancelled until Saturday.

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The country’s roads were largely deserted as the public heeded advice from the Government not to venture outside until the snow storm passed.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar urged people to stay safe.

“The risk to life and limb presented by severe weather conditions should not be underestimated by anyone,” Mr Varadkar said.

He added: “It’s not safe to be outside in such conditions. No-one should be on the roads.”

Ireland’s National Emergency Co-ordination Group chairman Sean Hogan said the priority was public safety.

“There will be difficult conditions for a time,” Mr Hogan said.

Several thousand households in Dublin and Kildare were without power on Thursday evening.

All flights in and out of Dublin Airport have been cancelled for Friday.

Aer Lingus and Ryanair will not have any flights from Dublin until Saturday morning.

Shannon, Cork and Knock airports have been closed.

More than 250 soldiers have been deployed to help ensure key staff can get to hospitals and to house-bound patients.

The HSE has cancelled all out-patient hospital appointments and non-urgent surgeries planned for Friday.

Evelyn Cusack, deputy head of forecast at Met Eireann said that meteorologically Thursday was an ice day because the air temperature did not rise above freezing anywhere in the country.

“Certainly a very poor start to spring,” Ms Cusack said.

She added that exceptionally high amounts of snow for eastern parts of Wicklow and southern parts of Dublin were forecast.

“South Dublin could get up to one metre of snow,” Ms Cusack said.

“This will have a huge knock-on effect over the next few days.”

Met Eireann is also concerned that flooding could become a problem in the greater Dublin area when the snow thaws.

The severe winter conditions resulted from the combination of the so-called Beast From The East polar air system and Storm Emma moving in from the south.

It is expected to hit Ireland harder than anywhere else, and it is predicted to be the worst snow storm in the Republic since 1982.

In Northern Ireland, more than 300 schools were closed, some health facilities shut to non-urgent admissions and there was disruption and delay on the roads.

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