Irish people urged to get indoors amid snow storm
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said everyone should be home by 4pm on Thursday and stay there until conditions improve.
Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has made a direct plea for people to get home and remain indoors until severe blizzard conditions have passed.
All of the country has been put under the highest weather warning, a red alert, as the worst snow in 35 years sweeps north across the island.
Blizzards are expected to strike the south coast from 4pm on Thursday afternoon as polar conditions brought by the so-called Beast From The East weather system mix with 100km/h gales from Storm Emma.
An Taoiseach briefing media along with the Chair of the National Emergency Coordination Group to advise that the public should remain indoors from 16:00 today. The Red Level Warnings are in place for public safety and we are urging the public to heed these warnings pic.twitter.com/tvbbPwMH4h— OEP (@emergencyIE) March 1, 2018
“The risk to life and limb presented by severe weather conditions should not be underestimated by anyone,” Mr Varadkar said.
The forecast is for zero visibility, deep pockets of snow and “white-outs”.
“It’s not safe to be outside in such conditions. No-one should be on the roads,” the Taoiseach said.
“We are asking everyone to be at home and safe by 4pm today and to remain indoors until the severe weather has passed. I’ll repeat nobody should be on the roads after 4pm today and everyone should be in home or indoors by 4pm.”
The red weather alert issued by Met Eireann is in place until Friday at 3pm. Temperatures are expected to be below minus four and there will be strong gale force north east winds with the snowfalls.
Transport Minister Shane Ross offered unambiguous advice on travelling through the storm: “Don’t do it.”
Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann, Irish Rail and Luas tram services are cancelled until Saturday, and all schools and colleges are closed.
Ireland’s National Emergency Co-ordination Group met in advance of the worst of the weather hitting and chairman Sean Hogan said the priority was public safety.
“Bear in mind what we are facing, this is nature coming in,” he said.
“We haven’t seen these conditions for a long time, even if we had we don’t know how things will get repeated. This is a unique set of circumstances.”
All flights from Dublin Airport are set to stop during the worst of the storm. Aer Lingus and Ryanair will not have any flights from Dublin until Saturday morning.
Ryanair said it has cancelled all flights to and from the following airports: East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cork and Kerry.
Shannon Airport remains operational but there have been many flight cancellations while Cork Airport was shut.
Evelyn Cusack, senior forecaster with Met Eireann, said a “big improvement” is expected over the weekend but she warned weather models were no guarantee.
“There is a high degree of uncertainty of how this storm system is going to behave,” Ms Cusack said.
The severe winter conditions are a result of the combination of the 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 storms in the Republic since 1982.