IRELAND is on high alert this afternoon as the country braces itself for ‘Storm Emma’.
The weather system originated in the Mediterranean and is making its way northwards towards the emerald isle.
It’s set to make landfall in Ireland on Thursday along with the so-called ‘Beast from the East’ cold weather front.
With the extreme weather sure to bring transport chaos, widespread school closures and supermarket shortages, here’s everything you need to know…
What is Storm Emma?
Storm Emma is a weather front caused by an area of low pressure which originated in Portugal at the end of last week.
The storm will bring strong winds and “plenty of precipitation,” according to Met Éireann.
While that precipitation fell as rain in Portugal and Spain, it will turn to snow across Ireland, the UK and France as it meets with the ‘Beast from the East’ system.
The combination of snow and high winds could bring blizzard-like conditions.
When will it arrive?
Storm Emma will make landfall in Ireland on Thursday night.
The Irish Government and Met Éireann have warned that schools may shut from Thursday, while flights will be grounded if the storm is as severe as predicted.
The Portuguese met service @ipma_pt named #StormEmma yesterday, set to bring heavy rain and gales across Spain and Portugal. As the storm bumps into the cold air across the UK, there is the risk of blizzards and freezing rain pic.twitter.com/EUgLEkkIXN
— Met Office (@metoffice) February 27, 2018
What should I expect?
Precipitation at the north of the storm will be met with the ‘Beast from the East’ winds sweeping in from the east – and this will bring as much as 8 inches of snow.
A nationwide red weather warning may be introduced, which is likely to see schools shut and will automatically mean Bus Éireann school buses are taken off the roads, affecting 116,000 pupils.
Road visibility levels will be zero, with people told not to make any unnecessary journeys.
Dublin Airport say they have no plans to close but this could change, along with other regional hubs.
Rural and regional roads may be impassable.
Do I need to panic?
Not if you’re prepared. The website www.winterready.ie provides practical advice on how to deal with the extreme weather.
Some local authorities provide a pre-registered text-messaging service which you can sign up for. Check your council’s website, with contact details also available at www.housing.gov.ie.
It is also a good idea to monitor Twitter and Facebook for information about your area, as well as news sites and radio stations.
For information on power-outages, check www.esbpowercheck.ie or phone 1850 372 999 to report outages.
To check if public transport services are closed, check the operators’ websites, including www.dublinbus.ie (01 8734222), www.irishrail.ie (01 8366222), www.luas.ie (1850 300 604 or 01 4614911) and www.buseireann.ie (1850 836 611).
For school transport, check www.buseireann.ie or call 1850 836 611. For school closures, contact your local school.
In the event of an emergency, call 112, or in the event of a major emergency, dial 999.