Weather chiefs warn of exceptional Arctic blast on Thursday
The weather is expected to bring conditions not seen since 1982.
Ireland should brace itself for an exceptional weather event in the coming days, the state’s emergency planners have warned.
While Met Eireann forecasters declined to predict exact snowfall levels, they cautioned that wintry showers will start in the east on Tuesday night before conditions worsen into Thursday and Friday.
The National Emergency Coordination Group met in Dublin for a second day in a row to coordinate national responses.
When driving behind Snow Ploughing Operations please make sure to slow down and do not try to over take. The ploughs will be working together to clear all lanes so please give them the room to do so. If you get into difficulty please let us know! #m50safety #BeastFromTheEast pic.twitter.com/g1UlCPcIht— M50 Dublin (@M50Dublin) February 27, 2018
Chairman Sean Hogan described the looming Arctic blast, nicknamed the Beast From The East, as a big event.
He said the aim was to keep the country moving.
“People will be encountering a level of snow tonight and tomorrow in some areas, some parts of the country. The local authority and public services will be responding in accordance with severe weather protocols to keep the county moving in so far as possible,” Mr Hogan said.
“We’ll be giving more advice tomorrow as we get closer to the big event on Thursday night and into Friday.”
Mr Hogan added that local authorities will continue the work of gritting roads with huge reserves of about 120,000 tonnes of salt in place by transport authorities.
Extra bed space is being made available for rough sleepers, the Defence Forces are being readied to support local responses and advice is being issued to the farming community.
Schools across the country will remain open on Wednesday, as will public transport, subject to local conditions.
The situation will be reviewed again on Wednesday.
The prospect of freezing temperatures, snowfalls and icy conditions will be compounded by the approach of the Storm Emma weather system from the Atlantic on Thursday and Friday.
About 6cm of snowfall is expected into Wednesday with parts of Leinster to be worst affected initially.
As Storm Emma brings higher winds and possible gales into Thursday, there is a risk of blizzard conditions in some areas.
The forecasts and warnings have led to panic buying across Dublin with supermarket shelves cleared out of bread and milk in many areas.
Met Eireann issued a status orange snow-ice warning on Tuesday into Wednesday for counties Dublin, Carlow, Kildare, Laois, Louth, Wicklow and Meath.
Deputy head of forecasting Evelyn Cusack said: “Storm Emma is pushing up against a very intense anti-cyclone from Scandinavia and that is producing the Siberian airflow across Ireland so the gale looks pretty likely.”
Gusts could increase to 110 km/h and could affect easterly and southern areas.
Ms Cusack said the same sort of airflow occurred in 1982 when a weather system came up from the Bay of Biscay and caused huge disruption with heavy snows.
“But every weather situation is different, though,” Ms Cusack said.