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Latest: Red, orange and yellow level warnings remain in place; Rail services to resume at 12pm Saturday

The worst of the blizzard conditions have now passed, but heavy drifts of snow continue to leave conditions across the country hazardous. We'll have all the updates as they happen.

    Storm Emma - what we know so far:

  • Current weather warnings: Status Red Snow-ice Warning in place for Dublin, Kildare, Wexford, Wicklow and Meath; Status Orange Snow-ice Warning for Munster, the rest of Leinster, Cavan, Monaghan and Galway; Status Yellow Snow-Ice Warning for Donegal, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo
  • More snow showers are expected later today, with a gradual thaw occurring over the weekend
  • The public safety advice to stay indoors has been withdrawn, but public told to still exercise extreme caution.
  • Motorists have been urged to avoid making unnecessary journeys.
  • Some disruption to electricity, water and telecommunications services.
  • BUS: All Bus Éireann services have been cancelled today - some limited service tomorrow morning. Citylink operating Galway-Dublin route.
  • AIR: Airports are closed today.
  • RAIL: No Luas today. Irish Rail services are also cancelled, but will resume from around 12pm tomorrow, subject to alterations and delays.
  • HSE: Elective, non-urgent or outpatient appointments have been cancelled;

Update 8pm: Train services are expected to resume at 12pm tomorrow.

As a result of worsening weather conditions and the extension of Status Red weather warning on critical rail arteries until 9am tomorrow, rail services on Intercity, Dart and Commuter will remain suspended until 12pm.

Iarnród Éireann said as a result of worsening weather conditions and the extension of Status Red weather warning on critical rail arteries until 9am Saturday, rail services on Intercity, Dart and Commuter will remain suspended until noon tomorrow.

The worsening weather conditions were this evening impeding already challenging line clearance works, and Iarnród Éireann said the safety of its employees and contractors is paramount.

Services will resume from 12pm, subject to overnight weather and early morning inspections. Iarnród Éireann will confirm details of service arrangements as soon as possible on Saturday morning.

Update 7.34pm:Update 7.15pm: The HSE National Crisis Management Team and have revealed local and national services are being severely impacted due to the severity of the weather conditions.

As a result the HSE are also advising the public to access our communications channels to get the most up to date information at www.hse.ie/

weatherwarning and @HSELive #weatherwarning on Twitter for all the latest regarding HSE services.

In its latest briefing in the last hour The National Emergency Co-Ordination Group have urged people living in areas where there's a status red warning this evening to stay indoors.

The red weather warning has been extended to 9am tomorrow morning in Dublin, Kildare, Wexford, Wicklow and Meath.

An orange warning is in effect for many other parts of the country.

More heavy snow is expected to bring significant accumulations.

In a statement tonight the HSE have said their biggest challenge remains the provision of transport to patients and staff given the difficulties on our road network acknowledged the help received from the Defence Forces, all voluntary providers and indeed other groups and individuals.

"In addition we envisage that the full recovery will extend through next week as all our services try to get back to normal operations."

In conclusion the HSE said they wanted to acknowledge the heroic efforts of health service staff in maintaining health services during the current severe weather episode and said they continued to hear many examples of staff going the extra mile to ensure that patients and service users receive the treatment they need.

“To all of our staff we say a heartfelt thank you for your continued dedication to providing a high quality public service.”

Read more on the HSE advice here

Update 7pm:Red, orange and yellow level warnings in place; 'Events can be reorganised but lives cannot' says President

President Michael D. Higgins has expressed his deep gratitude to "all staff who have kept services going" during the extreme weather conditions.

Speaking this evening from Áras an Uachtaran on Drivetime with Mary Wilson, President Higgins also expressed his thanks to the public for their cooperation during the last few days heeding each warning as they came.

He said he was keeping up to date with the National Emergency Coordination team, crediting Sean Hogan and colleagues for their great work.

President Higgins said that the biggest challenge right now is visibility, as snow has not let up throughout the day.

"It's important that people be safe... events can be reorganised but lives cannot," he said.

With many who are homeless refusing to come indoors, the President said about 15 remained outdoors and were provided with thermal blankets and checked in on every hour.

The President said that when all of this is over we will still have to face the homeless crisis, which he described as "our greatest challenge".

"All of the homeless were gathered, except for fifteen people who were provided with thermal blankets and were visited on an hourly basis. And that really has to happen because all of our citizens are important."

Not forgetting those in rural communities, President Higgins made reference to those in "áiteanna iarghúlta" or remote locations, many of whom are elderly he spoke of those people need to be borne in mind as some are without electricity.

President Higgins also gave praise to the power of communities, in particular those in Corca Dhuibhne where the community there have recently lost a young man during a GAA match due to a head injury.

On a lighter note, President Higgins also said that the Michael D. Higgins snowman has been a matter of some comment but wasn't sure if he was still out there.

He said his two dogs have been enjoying being out in the snow.

"Like everyone else, we've been taking great care."

Update 4.30pm: The red level snow-ice warning has been updated and extended until tomorrow morning, with more snow forecast tonight in Dublin, Kildare, Wexford, Wicklow and Meath.

Munster, the rest of Leinster, Cavan, Monaghan and Galway have a status orange warning which is valid until 9am tomorrow.

A yellow warning is in place for the northwest.

Deputy Head of forecasting Evelyn Cusack says it will be tomorrow before it warms up, as snow is still falling.

"Some of that snow is a little bit sleety in nature, and that will gradually become more sleety in southern parts overnight," she said.

"Tomorrow, here are the forecast tempteratures: about 4 or 5C over Munster and as the Emma circulation moves up it will bring precipitation in with it, but that would be more readily as rain in surface levels and still snow on the mountains."

Transport services are due to resume across the country.

Bus Eireann says it may be able to resume "a level" of services tomorrow morning, depending on local road conditions.

Dublin Bus says it expects to operate services tomorrow, but there will be disruption to scheduled services, while Luas is monitoring the situation.

Passersby helping to push a 4x4 SUV out of the snow on Chesterfield Avenue, Phoenix Park, Dublin. Picture: Conor McCabe.

All airports are due to reopen tomorrow.

Ryanair has cancelled all flights scheduled to and from Dublin, Cork, Kerry, Knock and Shannon Airports today.

It expects some further disruptions tomorrow morning and has had to cancel a number of flights to/from Dublin airport.

Around 260 stranded passengers face a second night sleeping at Dublin airport. However flights are expected to resume in the morning, with delays likely.

Cork Airport is today continuing to clear its runways, taxiways and roadways.

The airport plans to resume flight operations tomorrow morning, subject to weather.

In 2010, Cork Airport crews cleared 50 loads of snow. This week, they have, to date, cleared over 250 loads.

The ESB is working to restore power to 34,000 homes and businesses which are without electricity.

Worsening weather in the South East has caused power to be lost to an additional 30,000 customers since this morning.

The main areas currently affected are Enniscorthy, Arklow, Portlaoise, Waterford, Dublin, Cork, Bandon, Fermoy, Tullamore, Duleek and Julianstown.

At the peak of the storm last night, there were 117,000 premises without electricity. ESB Networks operations staff and our Control Centre restored supply to 113,000 customers since then.

The Audi Dublin International Film Festival has successfully rescheduled many of the postponed films from the festival programme over the coming weekend.

Ticketholders unable to attend the new screening times will be offered the chance to exchange their tickets or receive a full refund.

Update 3.58pm: Volunteers trying to help animals left out in the freezing weather say they have been abused by teenagers.

Teams have been dropping hay off for horses tied up in a number of Dublin estates.

Martina Kenny is a volunteer with My Lovely Horse Rescue.

"What we got was a load of kids, we knew some of their faces from around Clondalkin, calling us rats and scabs and robbers.

"We're there trying to help. You just get fed up.

"It's awfully sad that that's what we're leaving our animals to."

Update 2.24pm: Many public amenities including libraries, sport & leisure centres, community centres and other public offices and facilities will be closed tomorrow, Dublin City Council has confirmed.

Nine road crews worked in two shifts around the clock yesterday salting priority roads across the city - side roads and local roads remain difficult to access, however.

Over 200 people availed of winter emergency beds last night. Outreach teams continue to liaise with rough sleepers.

Reports have been received from Council tenants with heating and other maintenance issues and staff are responding "within resources and access constraints to priority issues".

All concerts and music classes scheduled to take place at The National Concert Hall this weekend have been cancelled due to the severe weather conditions.

Eight McCabes Pharmacy outlets will be providing an emergency service this afternoon

The following stores will open today:

  • Malahide SC 2-6pm
  • Yellow Walls 1-3pm
  • Swords Pavilions 2-5pm
  • Glasnevin 2-6pm
  • Airside 2-5pm
  • Adelphi Court 2-6pm
  • Dundrum SC 2-6pm
  • Bray 2-5pm
  • Thurles 2-6pm

The DSPCA has been forced to suspend its ambulance rescue service.

Severe bad weather conditions around the animal shelter in Rathfarnham in Dublin have restricted their operations.

All animals in the shelter will be looked after but the charity is warning that they cannot provide a rescue service at the moment.

It's also encouraging all pet owners to look after animals particularly during this cold snap.

Update 2.05pm: The Taoiseach has warned people against taking any unnecessary journeys again today as Storm Emma continues to hit the country, writes Elaine Loughlin.

Speaking after a meeting of the National Emergency Coordination Group this afternoon Leo Varadkar said 230 snow ploughs are working to clear roads along with 293 specialist gritters which have already spread 6,000 tonnes of grit on roads today.

A snow plough at the junction of Grand Parade and Washington Street in Cork City Centre. Picture: Jim Coughlan

All flights and ferries, as well as public transport, has been halted today as heavy snow continues to fall in many parts of the country.

A Status Red weather warning is still in place for the east and south of the country.

However, as snow begins to melt there will be a threat of flooding.

Mr Varadkar said: "We are now looking towards the recovery phase, this will be a considerable challenge and is likely to take a few days.

"Our particular focus is on transport infrastructure, we need the roads back in a safe condition for people to use, many roads are still unpassable and work is being done on clearing the snow and ice."

The fires services have rescued a large number of people from vehicles as well as ambulances which became trapped while attending to emergencies.

Irish Rail hopes to run a number of test trains later today to make sure that it will be safe to resume services tomorrow and no lines have been damaged. However, the south Dart line has experienced significant flooding and it is unlikely that it will be running tomorrow morning.

It is also hoped that Bus Éireann will be able to operate some services again tomorrow.

Chair of the National Emergency Coordination Group, Sean Hogan says it is still not safe to drive "travel should be avoided" as roads are "treacherous".

He said that those who do risk driving could, in fact, take resources away from snow clearing operations if people become stuck.

"We are still in the middle of a very severe weather emergency with red and orange warnings in place," said Mr Hogan.

Snow drifting will pose particular problems with houses and some communities expected to be inaccessible for some time, Mr Hogan said.

Update 1.45pm: Staff at Rotunda Hospital have been praised for delivering 30 babies in the space of 23 hours today and yesterday, despite the treacherous weather conditions.

"All Rotunda Hospital maternity services have been operating as normal to a high standard of quality care," said a spokesperson.

"This was only made possible through the excellent dedication and diligence of Rotunda Hospital staff across all disciplines, who have made themselves available to work despite the many challenges posed by extreme weather conditions.

"Many staff have worked over the last three nights and have not been home to their own families, which is reflective of the dedication of Rotunda Hospital staff who have acted above the norm to ensure the continued provision of safe maternity services for our patients.

"As far as we are aware no babies have been named ‘Emma’, ‘Beast’ or ‘East’-yet!!"

Update 1.37pm: An Garda Síochana has advised Cork City Council that conditions across the region have become increasingly treacherous and that the public are advised to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.

City Council salt and gritting crews are working throughout the day treating priority roads and snow ploughs have been deployed to assist with the road treatment operations.

"Snow is continuing to fall and conditions locally will continue to remain very poor," a Council statement read.

"Cork City Council is urging the public to avoid making unnecessary journeys and to stay indoors until severe weather conditions have improved."

Update 1.05pm: No Bus Éireann services will operate for the remainder of today, due to ongoing severe weather conditions, the company has stated.

This includes all city and town services, the Expressway intercity network, and Eurolines services to the UK.

"We anticipate that we may be able to resume a level of services in some parts of the country tomorrow morning, dependent on the local road conditions," a statement read.

"It is our aim to operate some services on the Expressway inter-city network, and possibly a level of regional city and town services, in less affected areas.

"However, there will not be any kind of full service schedule tomorrow due to difficult and dangerous road conditions in many parts of the country.

"We apologise for the inconvenience, but safety of staff and customers is paramount."

Private operator Matthews has also suspended routes this afternoon. Some Citylink bus services have resumed, however.

Update 12.44pm: A total of 350 faults, predominantly in the east of the country and Co Cork, have left 26,000 homes and business without electricity, according to ESB Networks.

"There are deep snow drifts in various parts of the country and so it is taking our crews a very long time to travel to each fault," a statement read.

"It is unlikely that we will be able to restore supply to all customers today as a result of the conditions. Updates and more specific restoration times will be issued later today."

Irish Rail services to resume at 9am tomorrow morning with some alterations and delays.

Bank customers are being advised they will be refunded for any extra charges incurred due to branch closures.

Some customers have been unable to lodge funds and meet scheduled payments such as Direct Debits, Cheques and Standing Orders due to severe weather conditions over recent days.

Update 11.54am: AA Ireland is warning all motorists to continue to drive with caution in the coming days.

"Until advised otherwise we do encourage motorists to avoid non-essential travel, especially until the Red warning is lifted," Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs stated.

"Even once the warning is removed, however, we can expect some further snowfall and even as temperatures start to warm back up thawing snow and ice will lead to a risk of excess surface moisture on roads across the nation."

All Lidl stores in Ireland are closed due to the adverse weather conditions. In areas where ice and snowfall becomes less severe, regional management will make the decision on reopening this afternoon.

The 43rd People of the Year awards, which was scheduled for tomorrow evening at the Mansion House have been postponed due to the inclement weather.

"Rehab and RTÉ are fully committed to running this event at another time and are currently working on finding a new date for the show which will be announced shortly," a statement read.

A performance by comedian Pat Shortt scheduled to take place tonight at Cork Opera House has been postponed until Wednesday, March 14.

All tickets for the show will be valid for the new date. Tomorrow's show is scheduled to go ahead as planned.

Update 11.39am: Pest control provider Rentokil Ireland has warned warns householders and businesses to be vigilant in proofing their homes and premises from rodents.

Dr Colm Moore, Area Technical Manager at Rentokil, said: "During winter months, rodents like to base themselves somewhere warm, quiet and close to a source of food."

The company advises householders to keep areas inside and outside the house tidy and keeping any food waste in robust containers.

Update 11.05am: An estimated 10,000 eir customers currently without telephone, broadband and mobile services after snow and high winds caused damaged some pole, cable and mast infrastructure.

There are approximately 7,000 customers without service in Co Limerick including Hospital, Pallasgreen, Murroe, Croom and Kilfinane.

"Given the overhead nature of our network in rural Ireland which follows the road network, access remains an issue and repair work will take time," the company stated.

Update 10am: At least 14 people slept rough amid freezing conditions in Dublin last night.

The Peter McVerry Trust said that staff were engaging with homeless people until 5.30am this morning.

They identified 21 people, six of whom were persuaded to access shelter.

Mental health orders were used to force some indoors, but Niamh Randall from the Simon Community says that this is only done in exceptional circumstances.

"This is always the option of very, very last resort," she said.

"I imagine in those situations it was looking at whether people could make an informed choice, and if they were in a position to actually be making good decisions about themselves.

"I think it would have been done on the basis that there was a real fear."

Update 9am: Weather conditions are expected to gradually improve over the coming days, forecasters have said, although more snow showers are expected later today.

"The temperature has risen slightly as the storm system Emma has been pushing away the Siberian air," said Evelyn Cusack, deputy head of forecasting at Met Éireann.

"Nonetheless, temperatures are about 0 to -1C at the moment. So for the rest of the day, we've taken out the term 'blizzard' from the Status Red warning.

"The Status Red warning continues through the course of the day for Leinster, Munster and pushing into Galway as well.

"So there's going to be further heavy precipitation, mostly of snow, but turning sleety along the east coast and along the south coast, but generally there's going to be large amounts of sleet and snow through parts of Leinster and Munster.

She added: "Thankfully, I don't think we're going to get freezing rain in Ireland, because that is very dangerous, but we are going to get further spells of heavy snow, getting more sleety around the coast."

She added that the snow will not melt "to any appreciable effect" today.

Widecast frost was forecast for tonight, with temperatures dipping as low as -4C.

She said that tomorrow morning will be "still cold, but there will be a very gradual temperature rise over the weekend... the snow will just very, very gradually melt over the course of the weekend, but it's likely to be still around on Sunday".

Update 8.55am: Hospital staff in Dublin were forced to sleep on mattresses in crowded rooms overnight as a result of the storm.

Photos from the Mater and Tallaght hospitals show floor beds laid out for staff so that they can continue working.

Management at St. James's Hospital also expressed "heartfelt gratitude" to all staff who stayed overnight in the hospital.

"Everyone played their part and special mention must be given to the Catering Department who made sure hot meals were provided to all night staff and all day staff who stayed overnight," a statement read.

The Defence Forces have deployed around 250 troops across the country so they can help HSE staff get to work and visit housebound patients.

Update 8.35am: Roads conditions remain treacherous this morning due to huge snow drifts around the county, with conditions in Westmeath particularly poor.

Gardaí and the council are warning people nationwide not to travel unless it is absolutely essential.

Snow ploughs are trying to get mobilised, but staff having difficulties travelling from their homes.

The N4 Rathowen national primary route is particularly bad this morning but some of the main thoroughfares and motorways are passable.

Weather conditions remain poor with high winds and continuous snowfall.

Update 7.52am: The National Emergency Co-ordination Group has said that its public safety advice to stay indoors has now been withdrawn.

"Snowfall will continue today, and we've reissued the red warning across Leinster and Munster, and the overnight tonight it will become more patchy and then it will increasingly turn to outbreaks of rain during Saturday," said Met Éireann's John Eagleton.

"But it will still be cold, temperatures will remain low for the week, they won't get into double figures at all for the next 10 days, nearly."

Separately, a spokesperson for Irish Water has urged Dublin residents to conserve water.

Catherine Walsh, head of operations at Irish Water, stated: "We're doing all that we can to minimise the risk of service disruption during the severe weather.

She added: "We are beginning to see plant failures, and at the same time we're unable to get crews out to carry out the repairs. We're still reviewing from overnight."

Boil Water Notices are in place for many areas of Waterford and Wicklow.

She added: "Power outages do affect our plans very much, but we will be working around the clock in those areas."

"In the Dublin area, we are monitoring demand, and we have concerns about bursts that might be occurring... especially as a lot of our plants are really operating at full capacity there.

"So it's really important that people conserve water - that's a very key message for us, to conserve water."

She urged people not to run their taps in an effort to prevent freezing water.

Some minor problems have also been reported in areas of the south and west.

As of 7:20 am, there are 24,000 homes and business without electricity nationally.

At the peak of the faults around 1.30am, there were 117,000 homes and businesses without electricity overnight. Power has now been restored to 83,000 homes and businesses, according to ESB Networks.

Update 7.26am: Thousands without power as heavy snow hits east; New weather warnings issued

Fears of flooding in Cork city has so far proved unfounded, although there are concerns that flooding could occur at 6.26am tomorrow morning.

There were no requests for emergency services in the city overnight.

"People are heeding the warnings, which is great, and it's important that they continue to do so until the picture becomes clearer later in the day," director of services for Cork City Council, David Joyce, told RTÉ Morning Ireland.


Thousands of homes across the country are without electricity this morning due to Storm Emma.

Leinster and Dublin have been particularly affected. Many faults are not expected to be repaired until this evening.

The ESB has asked customers to check if their fault has already been reported on powercheck.ie before they call.

Operations manager Derek Hynes outlines how engineers will deal with the faults:

"I think our biggest concern, really, is the safety of our staff and then the safety of all the members of the public," he said.

"Getting to a site where there is a fault or somebody has no electricity may take us longer, but we'll do a risk assessment and we'll do our very best to get to every single location as quickly and as safely as we can."

Heavy snow showers swept across parts of Ireland last night as polar air brought by the so-called 'Beast From The East' weather system mixed with 100km gales from Storm Emma.

Met Éireann has issued updated weather warnings, with a Status Orange alert now in place for Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo.

Temperatures dropped below -5C and there were strong gale force winds.

Schools and colleges across the country will remain closed for a second day, and commuters are also facing further disruptions.

Dublin Bus, Irish Rail, Dart and Luas trams were cancelled until Saturday.

Bus Éireann will not operate in Leinster or Munster today - but may run some services in lesser affected areas of the west and north-west.

"Given the reduced weather warnings for Connacht and parts of the north west, we may be able to operate some services in lesser affected areas," said spokesperson Nicola Cooke.

"This might mean some city or town services, in a few areas.

"However, this is very much subject to local road conditions and the level of treatment taken on these.

"We cannot commit to any level of service resumption yet."

All flights in and out of Dublin Airport have been cancelled for Friday.

Aer Lingus and Ryanair will not have any flights from Dublin until Saturday morning.

Shannon, Cork and Knock airports have been closed.

More than 250 soldiers have been deployed to help ensure key staff can get to hospitals and to house-bound patients.

The HSE has cancelled all out-patient hospital appointments and non-urgent surgeries planned for Friday.

The country's roads were largely deserted as the public heeded advice from the Government not to venture outside until the snow storm passed.

Met Éireann is also concerned that flooding could become a problem in the greater Dublin area when the snow thaws.

Last night, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar urged people to stay safe.

"The risk to life and limb presented by severe weather conditions should not be underestimated by anyone," Mr Varadkar said.

- PA and Digital desk