Extreme caution needed when venturing outdoors, warns Taoiseach after storms
A red alert weather warning is still in place for many areas.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has asked the public to exercise extreme caution when venturing outdoors as the country moves into recovery mode following the worst snow storms in more than 30 years.
The Government’s safety advice warning people not to go outside has been lifted, but a red alert weather warning remains in place for large parts of the country.
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/hr gales from Storm Emma.
Temperatures dropped below minus 5C and there were strong gale force winds.
A red weather alert issued by Met Eireann remains in place in Leinster and Munster and Galway until 6pm.
An orange alert weather warning is in place for Roscommon, Sligo and Mayo in the west and the border counties of Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, and Leitrim. It runs until 6pm also.
“We’re now looking towards the recovery phase,” Mr Varadkar said.
“This will be a considerable challenge and is certain to take a few days.”
The Taoiseach thanked people for heeding advice to stay indoors.
He said work has begun on clearing snow and ice from the roads but many roads remain impassable.
Some 230 snow ploughs are clearing roads and more than 6,000 tonnes of grit have been spread along the road network.
National Emergency Coordination Group chairman Sean Hogan reiterated the group’s calls for people to stay off the roads until conditions improved.
A teenage boy remains in a critical condition in Cork University Hospital after he fell taking pictures of the snow. He was out walking in the snow with his father in Co Cork when the incident happened.
Schools and colleges remain closed, all public transport, flights, and ferries services have been cancelled and may be limited on Saturday.
Irish Water has warned people to conserve water, with supplies disrupted in Mallow, Charleville, Cobh and parts of west Cork and several thousand homes in Galway left without water.
With treatment plants running at full capacity people have been asked not to run taps and not to use dishwashers or washing machines.
Ten thousand homes and businesses have been left without phone and internet access after the severe weather caused damage to the country’s pole, cable and mast infrastructure.
About 26,000 households remain without power, mainly in counties Dublin, Louth, Meath, Cork and Donegal. ESB Networks crews have already restored electricity to almost 100,000 homes that had lost power.
Gardai said they had responded to a number of people stranded in cars after they got caught in snow drifts overnight.
A number of people were still in their cars at 7am on Thursday. It is understood they were all safely rescued.
The incidents occurred across the greater Dublin area in Tallaght, Newcastle, Lucan and Blanchardstown.
The Defence Forces responded to 81 calls and the Coastguard assisted 400 people, the Taoiseach said.