The Beast from the East

Blizzard-like conditions set to get worse as schools close and transport disrupted

Peter Smyth Wed, Feb 28
 
LIVE: The Beast from the East

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  • 06:57
    Good morning! Welcome to our liveblog, where I'll be keeping you up to date with all the latest travel and weather updates over the course of the day as the Beast from the East takes hold.

    To start, here are the main points to be aware of:

    - Met Éireann has issued a status red snow-ice warning for large parts of the east coast after heavy overnight snowfall.

    - Snow accumulations of between 5 and 10cm have fallen since lastnight and Met Éireann has warned that total snowfall up to midday tomorrow may reach 25cm.

    - School buses are automatically stopped during a status red weather warning effectively closing schools in the affected areas.

    - A number of flights from Dublin Airport have been cancelled as teams work to clear the runway of snow.

    - Dublin Bus has warned of "significant disruption" on many routes.

    - All Irish Rail services are operating as normal apart from some minor delays.
  • 06:59
  • 07:14
    The Luas is running an "extremely limited service" across both lines. The Red Line is only running from Saggart to the Point and the Green Line is only running from Sandyford to Broombridge.
  • 07:18
  • 07:23
    University College Dublin will stay closed today and tomorrow
  • 07:23
  • 07:28
  • 07:29
  • 07:32
    Met Eireann has upgraded to status orange its warning for snow and ice in Cork, Waterford and Wexford. It is valid from Wednesday at 6am to Thursday at 12pm.
  • 07:40
  • 07:41
  • 07:53

    TRAVEL UPDATE:

    There is major disruption to most public transport services in the East of the country this morning.

    - LUAS is running an "extremely limited" service with no service to and from Saggart and the  Green Line running from Sandyford to Broombridge only.


    - DUBLIN BUS has significant disruption to services with many routes operation on a limited basis. You can check the full list of disruptions here.

    - IRISH RAIL services  are all currently operating as normal except the Cork to Cobh line.

    - BUS EIREANN has reported major disruption to all services in the East of the country while school buses are not operating in the counties affected by the red weather warning.


    - FLIGHTS from Dublin airport are due to resume shortly after being suspended this morning while crews worked to clear snow off the runway. Cork Airport remains fully operational, as does Shannon.

     - ROADS are reported as being treacherous in many areas as crews work to clear snow off major routes. Advice on driving in these conditions to follow.

  • 08:13

    The Department of Education has said  decisions on school closures will be "made locally by each school individually". The decision will "depend on the circumstances in their area, this includes schools in the red areas".  

  • 08:22
    The Deputy Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann Evelyn Cusack has warning that there will be further heavy snow showers today and tomorrow.
    There will be breaks, but more snow showers will develop, she told RTE’s Morning Ireland. Air temperatures are unlikely to rise above zero today.

    There is also a continued risk of thunderstorms and strong winds later in the week which could lead to drifting.

    Ms Cusack said that snow “could turn up any where” but the West and North West will “fare best.”

    Ms Cusack explained that the status red warning issued by Met Éireann is the highest alert in terms of snow in excess of 8-10 cms. Last night at Casement Aerodrome 16cms on snow fell, she said.

  • 08:43
  • 08:45
  • 08:49

    Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has called on people in red alert areas not to make unnecessary journeys and to stay tuned to  the media for updates.

    In an interview with Newstalk Breakfast this morning, he said the army was on standby if needed and added that there was no threat to food security.

    He said there were fewer than a dozen homeless people who did not come in during the cold last night.

  • 08:49
  • 09:16

    The Chair of the National Emergency Coordination Group for Severe Weather, Sean Hogan, has called on businesses and householders to take action to reduce the dangers of compacted snow.

    He is urging people to clear snow from pathways and driveways before it freezes again.

    On RTE’s Morning Ireland he also cautioned people not to leave taps running.


    Mr Hogan urged people to keep their homes at a warm temperature even if not occupied.

    “Keep heating on, even on a timer.”

    He said it is anticipated that conditions will become even more difficult on Thursday.

  • 09:18

    The Government is to announce an additional week of the fuel allowance, worth €22.50.  

    Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty will confirm this payment this morning.

  • 09:32

    WEATHER FORECAST

    The weather is set to get worse before it gets better with blizzard-like conditions giving way on Sunday to milder weather.

    Heavy snowfall will continue across the eastern half of the county on Wednesday and will remain on the ground because of temperatures which will hover around zero in most places.

    The highest weather alert, a status red warning, has been issued for counties Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Wicklow and Meath. Status red warnings means the public should take steps to ensure their safety.

    Status orange warnings have been issued for counties Carlow, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Wexford, Offaly, Westmeath Cork, Tipperary and Waterford and a status yellow warning for the rest of the country because of the low temperatures.

    There will be little change on Wednesday evening or overnight with the snow showers continuing to accumulate on the ground. This will be accompanied by a severe frost with lowest temperatures of minus 3 to minus 6 degrees and gusty easterly winds.

    The worst day of the cold snap will be Thursday when Storm Emma from the Bay of Biscay meets the frigid air from Siberia dumping large accumulations of snow across the southern half of the country.

    Temperatures will drop further to minus 1 in most places during the day on Thursday and fall at night to minus 7 degrees.

    There is a chance of blizzard-like conditions with strong easterly winds driving the snow into drifts.

    Full report from Ronan McGreevy  here.



  • 09:35
  • 09:54
    UPDATED: Cork Airport has now suspended all flight operations until 12pm midday  to allow for the clearing of snow from the runway and taxiways.
  • 10:03

    From Sarah Bardon, our political reporter:  

    The Government is to grant an extra €22.50 to all fuel allowance recipients in light of the cold weather.

    Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty confirmed the payment will be given to 331,000 people.

    However she confirmed it may not be received until next week or the week after.

    Asked about the comments of Minister for Older People Jim Daly who encouraged people to keep their heating on 24/7, Ms Doherty said these remarks were "potentially confusing".

    "There may have been situations where people might not have got the money. We have moved to clear that to ensure people get money."  

    Ms Doherty insisted Mr Daly's comments were borne from sincerity and with the best interests of older people at heart.

    Asked if she agreed with the remarks, Ms Doherty said she was not sure people needed to keep the heat on when they were in bed and already warm.

    People would make their own decisions but the Government has removed any financial uncertainty, the Minister added.

    Those who are not eligible for fuel allowance can apply for exceptional needs payments, Ms Doherty said.

  • 10:07

    University Hospital Waterford has cancelled all non-urgent activity from today until Friday as a result of the weather.

    Outpatient clinics and elective surgeries have been deferred and patients will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

    However, all emergency and urgent services including cancer care will continue to be delivered.

    Urgent colonoscopies that are due to take place today will also go ahead.

     

  • 10:12

    Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told reporters that the worst of the weather warning is yet to come.

    His message is to be safe and avoid unnecessary travel.

    He said employers need to assess if it is necessary to open and whether staff are best to work from home.  

    He said he is not issuing a blanket instruction to employers but advises they must examine if it is safer for people to work from home.

  • 10:22

    ROADS UPDATE FROM AA ROADWATCH:


    The worst affected areas so far are along the east coast - gardai are advising motorists not to travel if possible.

    All routes in Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow and Dublin are extremely bad this morning.

    Roads are very slippery across county Kildare, including the M9 near Athy. Gardaí advise that the flyover over the N4 at J5 Leixlip is impassable.

    There is snow on all roads around Navan and Ashbourne in Meath; including the N2 which has poor conditions. Road conditions are treacherous in Longford and Mullingar in Westmeath. Further north, in Louth, roads are slippery due to snow.

    In Monaghan, conditions are extremely slippery due to snow and slush particular care is required on the N2 between Carrickmacross and Ardee.

    Gardai report that conditions on the N25 between Youghal Co Cork and Ardmore Co Waterford are quite slippery and icy.


    Gardai in Castlemartyr are reporting poor conditions due to heavy snowfall. Motorists are advised not to travel if possible.


    There are also extremely poor conditions in the Midleton area including between Midleton and Whitegate.


    Elsewhere in Cork, there are very poor conditions around the city, and in areas south of the city. Gardaí say to avoid the city centre and there are impassible routes in Passage West and Mayfield.


    Gardaí in Bruff in Co Limerick are warning of treacherous conditions around Bruff and Kilmallock.

  • 10:25
  • 10:36

    Statement from Ulster Bank:

    To ensure the safety of all our staff and customers following the Red weather warning issued by Met Eireann, Ulster Bank branches in Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Wicklow and Meath and mobile branches in Limerick, Midlands and Cavan will be closed on Wednesday 28th February.

    "Our Telephone, Online Banking, Mobile Banking and ATM services are all still available. ”

     

  • 10:44

    STOP THE PRESSES:

    Bingo has been cancelled in Cullyfad, Co Longford, Keadue, Co Roscommon  and Oldcastle in Co Meath.

    Live bingo updates as we have them.

  • 10:51
  • 10:53

    Report from Elaine Keogh in Co Louth:  

    Louth county council says its crews are continuing to grit and plough roads.

    It has asked business owners to help clear footpaths outside their premises.  

    It said the council is “in contact with all relevant agencies including   An Garda Siochana and the HSE and the Civil Defence have been put on standby.”

    In Co Meath the N51 - the main road between Drogheda and Slane - is blocked and impassable due to articulated vehicles stuck in the snow.   Gardai are asking motorists to avoid the route for now.  

    The N2 is also blocked between Slane and Collon due to a jack-knifed truck.

    Cold Weather Response Initiatives have been activated in Meath and Louth particularly in relation to anyone who maybe sleeping rough.

    In Louth the council said its response is “provided for in our Homeless Action Plan in conjunction with the HSE and the NGOs operating in the towns of Dundalk and Drogheda.”

     

  • 10:55
  • 10:58
  • 11:20

    If you're off work and at a loose end today, there is a "vicious snowball fight to the death" organised for  O’Connell Bridge in Dublin’s city centre.

    The Northside Vs Southside will take place at 3pm. The Facebook event warns:

    “We may put snowball snipers in place on the day to absolutely lash any southsider out of it that tries to cross O’Connell Bridge so cross at your own peril.”

    Full report from Sarah Burns here.

  • 11:30
  • 11:39

    BREAKING: Met Eireann has issued another Status Red weather warning for snow and ice in all of Munster and Leinster. It is valid from Thursday at 4pm until Friday 12pm midday. The forecast says:

    "Blizzard-like conditions will develop in heavy snow and strong easterly winds on Thursday evening and will continue Thursday night and Friday morning giving significant snow drifts in many areas."

  • 11:46

    There is also a new status orange snow and ice warning for  Connacht, Cavan and Monaghan which is valid from Thursday at 8pm until Friday at 12 midday.  

    That forecast says: "Persistent snow will develop on Thursday night and will continue into Friday. Together with strong easterly winds this may lead to snow drifts."

  • 11:46
  • 11:46
  • 11:49
    Climate expert Professor John Sweeney is warning that the snow to come on Thursday will be “wet and clingy”.

    He told RTE’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show that the wind coming from the East combined with the precipitation from the South will lead to the wet and clingy snow which will fall tomorrow.

    “It won’t be nice like today’s snow,” he said.
  • 11:56

    If you're in the mood for a bread riot this evening, here's a list of stores which are saying they will remain open as long as conditions do not worsen:

    -Tesco

    - Aldi

    - Lidl

    - Dunnes Stores

    - Applegreen

  • 11:57
  • 11:58
    BREAKING: All Ryanair flights to and from Dublin Airport have been cancelled for the rest of today.  
  • 12:09
  • 12:22

    Barry Roche is in Cork:

    Gardai were reporting difficult driving conditions on Carr’s Hill on the way to Carrigaline and around Maryborough Hill in Douglas with freezing compacted snow making hilly roads very dangerous.

    Gardai also warned motorists to stay away from Barrack Street on Cork’s Southside and nearby Evergreen Road and Industry Place where compacted snow was making driving dangerous.

    O’Mahony’s Avenue in Mayfield on the city’s northside was also particularly dangerous as was Oldcourt Road in Ballincollig while Church Hill in Passage West was impassable.

    In East Cork, gardai were also reporting difficult driving conditions around Midleton where the Dungourney Road was closed and in Cobh where the Fota Road on to Great Island was closed.

    And an articulated lorry jack-knifed on the Youghal By-Pass on the N25, forcing the closure of the road for a time even though the driver of the truck had a lucky escape and was not injured.

    In West Cork, gardai were also issuing a warning to motorists not to undertake any unnecessary journeys with snow making roads around Bandon, Clonakilty and Skibbereen all dangerous.

    The main N71 artery into West Cork was particularly treacherous on the hill down into Innishannon with traffic coming to a standstill as many motorists were forced to pull in or abandon their cars.

    Meanwhile North Cork seemed to be escaping the worst of the weather with Gardai in Fermoy, Mallow eporting all roads remaining open while roads around Macroom were also passable.

    Irish Rail commuter services to Cobh in East Cork were suspended for a time this morning due to a problem with the points system but the service resumed at 11am and is now operating normally.

  • 12:27

    Carl O'Brien, Education Corresponedent:

    Hundreds of schools which closed on Wednesday due to snow and ice are likely to remain closed for the remainder of the week.

    Met Éireann’s new red weather alert for all of Leinster and Munster on Thursday evening and Friday morning means school transport will be automatically suspended in these areas.

    While most schools are closing in areas where there is a red alert, Minister for Education Richard Bruton said decisions over whether to open or close will be left to each school.

  • 12:42

    ROADS UPDATE FROM AA ROADWATCH:

    RED WARNING AREA

    All routes in Dublin, particularly the Tallaght area, and Wicklow are extremely dangerous due to heavy snow. In Arklow, the Vale Rd (R474) is impassable between Arklow and Kilcarra. The Old Military Rd (R115) is closed until further notice from the View Point to the Sally Gap.

    There is snow on all roads across Meath; including the N2 which is still impassable between Collon and Slane after a truck jack-knifed earlier this morning. Gardaí advise avoiding the route where possible. The N51 has now reopened after incidents between Navan and Slane. Further north, in Louth, roads are slippery due to snow.

    There are very poor conditions on the M9 in Kildare. Conditions remain poor along this stretch and Gardaí say it should be avoided. Gardaí advise that the flyover over the N4 at J5 Leixlip is impassable.

    In Tipperary, road conditions are especially poor around Nenagh. Secondary routes are in poor condition countywide but main routes are passable.

    ORANGE WARNING AREA

    Road conditions are treacherous in Longford and Westmeath, though the main roads are passable with care. Gardaí are dealing with a jackknifed truck on the N4 at Rathowen.

    Poor conditions have been reported on secondary routes across Waterford.

    Elsewhere in Cork, the N25 is currently blocked westbound just after the Youghal Bypass where numerous trucks have jack-knifed. There are long delays in the area. The N71 west of Clonakilty is passable with care but other roads in the area are very treacherous due to snowy and icy conditions.

    Gardai in Castlemartyr are reporting poor conditions due to heavy snowfall. Motorists are advised not to travel if possible. There are also extremely poor conditions in the Midleton area including between Midleton and Whitegate. Elsewhere in Cork, there are very poor conditions around the city, and in areas south of the city. Gardaí say to avoid the city centre and there are impassible routes in Passage West and Mayfield.

    Traffic is very slow both ways on the N28 all the way between Douglas and Ringaskiddy.

    It’s heavy too between Cross Barry and Ballinhassig on the N71.

    Gardaí in Carlow advise avoiding the main N81 through Tullow, with several vehicles stuck on the hill.

    In Laois, Gardaí advise motorists to avoid secondary routes.

    YELLOW WARNING AREA

    Gardaí in Bruff in Limerick are warning of treacherous conditions around Bruff and Kilmallock. Overall however, conditions are not too bad countywide.

    OTHER

    In Monaghan, conditions are extremely slippery due to snow and slush particular care is required on the N2 between Carrickmacross and Ardee.

  • 12:44
  • 12:56
    BREAKING: There will be no Dublin Bus services on Thursday.  There will be limited Dart and Luas services.  
  • 13:00
  • 13:01
  • 13:04
    If you are considering taking the car out today, here is a helpful list of tips on how to drive in the snow.
  • 13:05
  • 13:08

    BREAKING:  All schools, third level institutions, colleges and centres of further education in red alert areas will be closed tomorrow and Friday.

    A statement from the Department of Education says:

    "Given the disruption to transport and the safety risks arising, most particularly in relation to the ability to get home safely before blizzard like conditions hit Munster and Leinster, all schools, third level institutions, colleges and centres of further education in red areas will be closed tomorrow and Friday.

    "In relation to Connaught and Ulster decisions on school closures will be made individually depending on the circumstances in their area. The situation in Connaught and Ulster will be kept under review."



  • 13:12
  • 13:23
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  • 13:50
  • 13:56
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  • 14:02

    An update on that emergency meeting from Sarah Burns:

    Sean Hogan, chair of the national emergency Coordination group for severe weather said employers need to consider is it possible or necessary for them to open on Thursday.

    He said government departments, not providing public services, would close on Thursday and Friday in Munster and Leinster. He said the country has not experienced blizzard conditions since 1982.

    He said the NECG was asking people to take “heed of the advice” being given. He said people should monitor Met Éireann for further updates.

    Mr Hogan said it would be “suicidal” to go driving in the blizzard conditions forecast for tomorrow afternoon. He said “what we are telling people is do not be out there from 4pm tomorrow”.


    “Our message is very clear...the storm is coming.” Evelyn Cusack, deputy head of forecasting at Met Éireann said there will be “zero visibility” during the snow storms that are forecast from tomorrow.

    Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has said people should not be out tomorrow from 4pm and to remain at home until noon on Friday.

    There will be no Dublin bus services on Thursday and Irish Rail said services would wind down from midday and no trains will operate from 2pm on Thursday to midday on Friday at least.

    All schools in Munster and Leinster are due to be closed on Thursday and Friday.

  • 14:03
  • 14:20

    MAIN POINTS FOR TOMORROW:

    - All Dublin Bus services cancelled.

    - Irish Rail and Luas to wind down at 12 midday and will not be running again until midday Friday at the earliest.

    - All schools and univesities in the red alert areas (all of Leinster and Munster) will be closed on Thursday and Friday.

    - Sean Hogan has warned it  would be “suicidal” to go driving in the blizzard conditions forecast for tomorrow afternoon.

  • 14:26
    Has the bad weather disrupted your travel plans? We have a guide from Joan Scales on what your rights are here.
  • 14:27
  • 14:30

    I'm handing over now to reporter Colin Gleeson, who will be with you here on the liveblog with all the latest news as we have it.  

    Niamh  

  • 14:39

    Good afternoon, and thanks for joining me today as we continue to monitor this week’s extreme weather event as it makes its way in from the east and across the country.

    If you’d like to get involved in the action, you can tweet me @ColinGleesonIT with photos or what have you, and I’ll publish them here.

  • 14:43

    Some news from our correspondent Barry Roche in the south firstly, as Cork Airport Marketing Manager Kevin Cullinane has confirmed runways and taxiways at the airport have re-opened following snow and slush clearance by maintenance staff.

    Flights from the airport have begun re-boarding but a number of Aer Lingus flights to the UK and France have been cancelled and he urged intending passengers to check with their airline.

  • 14:44

    Meanwhile Cork County Council has confirmed that scattered heavy snow showers have impacted on a number of major roads around the county including the N71 Cork to Skibbereen road.

    Heavy snow falls also caused problems on the N 28 Cork to RingaskiddyRoad at Carr’s Hill and the N25 Cork to Waterford road from Killeagh to the Waterford County Boundary near Youghal Bridge.

    Council staff were out gritting these roads as well as the R630 Midleton –Whitegate Road, the R 600 Cork- Kinsale Road and the R610 Cork-Passage Road and roads are continuing to receive treatment.

    Council staff had been working overnight using 20 gritting machines to spread some 300 tonnes of salt to ensure that the main roads around the county remained passable as snows continued to fall.

    Cork County Council is also making grit available at over 190 locations across the county for use by local communities.

  • 14:54
  • 15:05

    We’ve been inundated with photos of bare shop shelves over the past 24 hours with people apparently packing the larders following all the warnings.

    Taoiseach Leo Varadkar however said this morning that “food security” is not an issue and that supermarkets will not run out of stock.

    One businessman in Meath apparently didn’t get the memo, selling more than 3,000 sliced pans to snow-panicked shoppers in the last two days.

    He’s since introduced “bread rations”. Signs limiting bread to one pan per customer have been erected at four stores across Meath

    Owner Jim Bird felt it was “only fair” to ration the bread at his stores at SuperValu in Navan, Centra in Athboy and Ballivor and Daybreak in Athboy this morning.

    Let’s hope if there’s ever to be a nuclear holocaust here, that there’s not too much of an advance warning.

  • 15:07
  • 15:11

    More news on the shopping front.

    Lidl has decided to close all stores in Leinster and Munster from 3pm tomorrow until 1pm on Friday.

    Decisions may be taken at individual store level to extend this closure period depending on localised weather conditions.

  • 15:20

    Elaine Keogh reports that Louth county council has used more than 180 tonnes of salt and grit in the last 24 hours and it has treated more than 1,600kms of roads.

    Six ploughs and four gritters are deployed and the council’s crisis management team is monitoring the situation constantly, a spokesman said.

    In Drogheda and Drogheda, snow ploughs have been used to clear roads in the town and main footpaths have been cleared and gritted.

    In Ardee and Dunleer the roads are passable with care while the village centres in Omeath and Carlingford have been gritted, as has access to Dromad Garda Station.

  • 15:24
  • 15:44

    Ireland’s Winter Olympic athletes have returned home today from the Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

    In a classicly Irish development, it earlier looked as though the homecoming was going to have to be postponed due to – yes, you’ve guess it – the wintery conditions.

    But they made it.

    Olympic Council of Ireland representative Shane O’Connor was in Dublin Airport to welcome members of Team Ireland, their coaches and support team home as they walked through the Arrivals gates in Terminal 1.

    Team Ireland athletes, coaches and supports staff were also greeted by friends and family on arrival.

  • 15:44
    Fair play to these lads. Hilarious.
  • 15:49

    Holy God. Even the churches are shutting down.

    The following notice has been issued to parishes in the Archdiocese of Dublin:

    “For the duration of the current red weather alert and in the areas to which the red alert applies, it is advisable to [keep] churches closed and cancel all unnecessary religious ceremonies.

    “It is up to the parish priest/rector to decide in the light of local circumstances.”

  • 15:49
    Some unorthodox snowman (snowspider?) making here
  • 15:55

    A travel update now.

    The last Dublin Bus services will depart at 7pm today in anticipation of worsening conditions.

  • 15:58

    Attention all football fans.

    All 10 games in this weekend’s SSE Airtricity League (premier and first divisions) have been postponed.

    Below is a list of rescheduled fixtures with kick-off times to be confirmed:

    SSE Airtricity League Premier Division

    Bray Wanderers v Waterford - Rescheduled for Monday, March 19
    Cork City v Bohemians - Rescheduled for Monday, March 19
    Derry City v Dundalk - Rescheduled for Monday, March 19
    Limerick v Shamrock Rovers - Rescheduled for Monday, March 19
    St Patrick's Athletic v Sligo Rovers - Rescheduled for Monday, March 19
    Limerick v Cork City - Changed from Saturday, March 17 to Friday, March 16
    Limerick v Waterford - Changed from Saturday, March 31 to Friday, March 30

    SSE Airtricity League First Division

    Athlone Town v Cabinteely - Rescheduled for Monday, March 19
    Wexford v UCD - Rescheduled for Monday, March 19
    Cobh Ramblers v Galway United - Fixture to be rescheduled at a later date
    Finn Harps v Longford Town - Fixture to be rescheduled at a later date
    Shelbourne v Drogheda United - Fixture to be rescheduled at a later date

  • 16:02

    More disruption to businesses coming in now.

    This from the Powerscourt Centre in Dublin: “Due to extreme weather conditions, Powerscourt Centre will close today at 3pm and Thursday & Friday. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.”

  • 16:10
  • 16:12

    This just in from Bus Éireann.

    No services will operate in Leinster and Munster tomorrow but services will be provided in Connacht and Ulster

    There has also been significant disruption to services in the east today, and there will be no further commuter or rural services in the east – where there is a red warning – for the duration of the day. This includes Dublin, Wicklow, Louth, Meath, and Kildare.

    Services in Connacht and Ulster are all scheduled to operate tomorrow and Friday subject to road conditions.

  • 16:16

    If you think you’re cold, spare a thought for all the animals out there with nowhere to hide.

    Birdwatch Ireland has said life is “extremely difficult” for garden birds at the moment.

    As temperatures drop, the birds need to eat as much high energy food as possible to try to keep warm. They also need access to unfrozen water to allow them to drink and bathe.

    With this in mind, Birdwatch Ireland has put together some advice on how you can help your garden birds to survive during cold weather. Please do what you can, and please also pass the advice on to your friends, neighbours and family.

  • 16:17
    Ah here.
  • 16:22
  • 16:30

    Tesco Ireland has confirmed its stores in areas covered by the red weather alert will have limited opening hours over the coming days due to the extreme weather conditions.

    Today: Tesco stores in Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow will close at 6pm

    Thursday: stores in Munster and Leinster will open from 9am — 2pm

    Friday: stores in Munster and Leinster will re-open from 1pm

    All trading hours will be kept under review on a localised basis

    All stores in non-Red zones will be open as normal.

    “All week our colleagues and suppliers have gone above and beyond to make sure our shelves are full and to serve our customers,” said Christine Heffernan, corporate affairs director.

  • 16:30
  • 16:33

    It’s after starting again (the snow, that is) in Dublin city centre following a couple of hours respite.

    It’s also getting dark.

    And foreboding.

  • 16:34
  • 16:38

    And another one bites the dust.

    Arnotts will be closed tomorrow.

  • 16:39
  • 16:45

    If you’re snowed in, and run out of bread – don’t worry.

    You can watch ‘Cooked’ (Season 1, Episode 3 “Air”) on Netflix and get some tips on how to bake your own.

    It only requires four ingredients: flour, water, salt and yeast.

    The episode travels in time from the ancient Egypt of 6,000 years ago, when bread making first began, to a communal oven in contemporary Morocco, where a baker bemoans the fading tradition of neighbourhood bakeries, to Pollan’s Berkeley, California kitchen.

  • 16:45
  • 16:52

    Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is to make another statement on the weather situation at 5.30pm.

    Maybe he should give the Met Eireann folks a day off and present the weather after the Six One.

  • 17:01
    Don't forget you can tweet me your pictures or stories and I'll include them in the blog. Handle is @ColinGleesonIT
  • 17:11
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  • 17:21
  • 17:32

    There have been some fresh weather warnings issued by Met Eireann.

    We can expect further disruptive snow showers overnight, especially in Leinster, south Munster and parts of east Connacht.

    There will be significant accumulations of snow with widespread severe frost and ice. Temperatures will range from -3 to -8 degrees in fresh and gusty easterly winds.

    A status red snow-ice warning is in place for Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Wicklow and Meath until 3pm tomorrow.

    There’s also a status orange warning for snow-ice in Connacht, Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal.

    Met Eireann warns of persistent snow developing on Thursday night that will continue into Friday. There will also be some strong easterly winds which may lead to snow drifts.

    That’s valid from 8pm tomorrow until noon on Friday.

  • 17:33
  • 17:35
    Nobody ever said it was going to be easy...
  • 17:37

    Train services have been cancelled between Belfast and Dublin on Thursday.

    Operator Translink said the last trains would leave early on Thursday due to a weather warning in the Dublin area.

    Cross-border bus services have been cancelled for the rest of Wednesday and overnight.

  • 17:41

    The Luas red line service is operating from the Point to Tallaght and Saggart (Full Line).

    The green line service is operating from Brides Glen to Broombridge (Full Line).

    The frequency on both Lines is 15-20 minutes.

    The Luas will operate until the scheduled last tram tonight.

    Luas intends to operate a service on the red and green Lines from 5.30am on Thursday. The frequency will be every 30 minutes and services will finish at midday.

    Luas services for Friday will be reviewed at midday on the day.

  • 17:54

    Spare a thought for anyone who actually had plans for the next few days.

    Here’s a list we’ve compiled of all the snow closures, including cinemas, theatres, museums and cancelled events.

    Worsening weather conditions have forced many restaurants around the country to close too, while others that have decided to remain open are offering discounts to customers who brave the snow. Here’s our run down.

  • 17:56
  • 18:00

    Cork City Council has issued a tidal flood alert for low lying parts of the city over the next few days due to a combination of very high astronomical spring tides and strong south-easterly winds.

    From Thursday afternoon until Monday morning, prior to and after the spring tides, there is a significant risk of tidal flooding in the city centre, according to Cork City Council in a statement.

    “It is likely that flooding will occur in the low lying areas of the city centre in particular on Morrison’s Quay, Fr Mathew Quay, Fr Mathew Street, Union Quay, Trinity Bridge and South Terrace,” it said.

    “It is also likely that flooding will occur in other low-lying areas of the city centre such as Lavitts Quay, Kyrls Street, Kyrls Quay, Crosses Green, Sharman Crawford St and Wandesford Quay.”

    There is a lower level of risk for flooding on South Mall, Lapps Quay, McSwiney Quay, Albert Quay, Kennedy Quay, Proby’s Quay, French’s Quay, Lancaster Quay, Sullivan’s Quay and Lr Glanmire Road.

    “Property owners in the affected areas may be liable to flooding and are advised to take all necessary precautions to protect their properties,” added the city council in the statement.

    Cork City Council said that while it did not propose to issue sandbags to householders in the affected areas, it did have a limited stock of gel-bags available for collection at its depot on Anglesea Terrace.

  • 18:08
  • 18:09

    The Defence Forces deployed 60 Army personnel and 16 vehicles today in a range of tasks to support the local authorities.

    The “manpower and mobility” deployments using 4x4, and other specialist vehicles, took place in Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Kildare, Dublin and Donegal.

    The third battalion, based in Kilkenny, had vehicles and personnel assisting with the transport of dialysis patients and nursing staff to and from Wexford and Waterford Hospitals.

    They also provided support to the meals on wheels service in Kilkenny and assisted the local council in clearing snow and ice from key transport hubs.

  • 18:14
  • 18:23
  • 18:24

    An update from Ryanair.

    “Due to continuing adverse weather conditions, Ryanair expects further flight delays and cancellations at airports tomorrow and we recommend customers check the status of their flight at www.ryanair.com.”

  • 18:25
  • 18:46

    Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was speaking earlier, and he has moved to reassure the public that the full force of State resources has been applied in preparation for some of the worst weather conditions in decades.

    At a briefing, Mr Varadkar reiterated the appeal of authorities for people to get home and stay home by 4pm on Thursday.

    Accumulating snow is expected to reach 25 centimetres in Leinster and Muinster and rise to 40 centimetres by Friday afternoon.

    “Tomorrow we are expecting exceptional blizzard like conditions,” the Taoiseach said. “I want to reassure everyone at home and those still at work that I directed that the full resources of the State should make every effort to ensure the safety and welfare of our people.”

  • 18:48
  • 19:20

    That's about it from me for now.

    My colleague Peter Smyth will stay with you for the next while.

    Thanks for reading.

  • 19:29
  • 19:41
    So, for tomorrow, just some key points:

    Public in Leinster and Munster are asked to stay indoors from Thursday afternoon

    All schools and third-level institutions closed on Thursday – and Friday

    No Dublin Bus services on Thursday

    No Bus Eireann services on Thursday/Friday

    Luas, Dart, Irish Rail services, only up to noon-2pm on Thursday

    Snow at 40cm expected to accumulate by Friday afternoon in places

    Employers asked to assess if they need to open for business

    National Emergency Co-ordination Group chief says it would be “suicidal” to drive in blizzard conditions forecast on Thursday
  • 19:51


  • 19:52


  • 20:00
    Here's a pic from Elaine Butler of a skier she spotted in the Phoenix Park today - thanks for that...
    Here's a pic from Elaine Butler of a skier she spotted in the Phoenix Park today - thanks for that...
  • 20:03


  • 20:04


  • 20:09
    Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: “We have not experienced blizzard-like conditions like this since 1982. But the reports from that time remind us of the serious and lifethreatening conditions that can be posed by heavy snow and strong winds when they come together.” Read more from our Storm Emma news wrap by Patrick Logue, Sarah Burns, Vivienne Clarke
  • 20:17



  • 20:18
    I was hoping against hope for a bus home myself tonight. Now I've really got skin in the game.
  • 20:38



  • 20:42



  • 20:44
    Here's Kitty Holland on Dublin homeless services being set to address the “challenge” of ensuring 200 people who have taken “severe weather” beds have somewhere to go after the severe weather ends
  • 20:48

    Mark Hilliard meanwhile writes of “almost unprecedented” levels of snow on the way on Thursday and Friday.

    Minister for Transport Shane Ross said authorities had moved to implement “some fairly dramatic measures” in advance of rapidly deteriorating conditions.

    “The drama of the situation, the difficulties faced will be I suppose represented best by me saying there are going to be 25cm of snow tomorrow, that’s anticipated, and 40 by Friday lunchtime."

  • 20:51

    And... criminals stay at home with mammy during the bad weather, apparently.

    “Even if you’re patrolling in really wet weather there are far, far fewer people on the streets,” says one Garda source.

    “In a large town or city that means things like public order crime plummets. And that will be especially so in the snow."

    Conor Lally and Elaine Edwards have the skinny, here.

  • 21:22
    We will wrap up this liveblog shortly, but please join Dan Griffin here from early in the AM for more updates on what Storm Emma, aka the Beast from the East, is getting up to. Thanks for your time...