Transport chaos, school closures, flight disruptions, and limited supermarket supplies: here's what you need to know as Storm Emma hits Ireland. Here, we answer your most pressing weather concerns.
The question on everybody's lips: What is Storm Emma and who is the Beast from the East.
Storm Emma is a storm that originated in Portugal, and is due to hit Ireland in the coming days. Alas, Ireland is also being braced for Arctic winds and air mass, the so-called Beast from the East - sweeping in from the North via Siberia. Meteorologist Evelyn Cusack has explained in a national press conference that the reason Ireland is going to experience such a cold snap is the fact that these two instances will hit the country simultaneously.
When will Storm Emma hit Ireland? How much snow can we expect?
While snowfall has set in already, Met Eireann predicts that the worst of the storm will likely hit Ireland over Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
The weather watchdog currently has a Status Orange alert in place, but it is believed that warning could be upgraded to a Red Alert in the coming days due to an influx of snow and ice. Regardless, a Status Yellow alert remains in place all week due to the "exceptionally cold weather" the country is bound to experience.
To put that into context, Yellow means 'be aware', Orange means 'be prepared', while Red implies 'take action'.
Scattered snow showers are due to occur from Tuesday, particularly in Leinster areas such as Dublin, Carlow, Kildare, Laois, Louth, Wicklow, and Meath.
Meteorologists are predicting a snowfall of 4 to 6 cm, along with widespread frosty conditions.
Counties towards the south such as Wexford, Kilkenny, Cork, and Waterford, are expected to see snowfall of up to 3cm. Ditto for landlocked areas such as Longford, Offaly, Westmeath, and Tipperary.
Temperatures as low as -10C (14F) are forecast for Dublin and surrounding areas.
There is also a risk of thunder and lighting storms throughout the country.
Joanna Donnelly's latest broadcast on RTE radio 1 https://t.co/jO9zv2CM9M— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) February 27, 2018
Why is Storm Emma such a big deal?
To put it simply, Ireland is just not usually equipped for snow. While Storm Emma would be unlikely to faze those in say Russia or Alaska, it looks set to deliver an unusually serious bout of snowfall for the Emerald Isle.
In preparation, local County Councils have been salting primary roads. Snow ploughs, the Fire Services, and the Civil Defence are all on standby.
Over 120,000 tonnes of salt have been used to grit roads so far: that's four times more than what was used in 2010, Ireland's most recent heavy bout of snow.
Will flights be affected during Storm Emma?
While it would seem a certainty that some flights will be affected, Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) have maintained it is "too early" to tell.
It's too early to tell what impact the bad weather forecast for later this week may have on operations here & at other European airports. If travelling later this week please check with your airline closer to your flight time & continue to monitor this feed for latest updates.— Dublin Airport (@DublinAirport) February 26, 2018
The DAA also tweeted to confirm that they have up to "100 pieces of snow clearing equipment to blow, sweep and brush standing by".
Passengers are advised to keep a close eye on relevant airlines in the coming days.
#StormEmma Update: We currently plan to operate a full schedule. Should flight cancellations become necessary, we'll update guests via our website and app, SMS, social media and broadcast media. Please check live flight info on our website or app before departing for the airport— Aer Lingus (@AerLingus) February 27, 2018
Will schools be closed during Storm Emma?
Forecaster Joanna Donnelly stated, "The possibility of school closures during the mid or later end of the week is a real possibility with this extreme event coming our way."
As Storm Ophelia forced schools, universities, and some workplaces to close for two days last October, closures seem almost imminent.
People have been advised to keep in contact with their relevant local schools and businesses for updates.
America during snow storm: emergency services will be on call during these difficult days all schools will be closed— Life_With_Gav (@gavinb569) February 26, 2018
Ireland: ah sure we will wait and see
What about food? Will supplies be limited during Storm Emma?
Yes, it does seem pretty drastic, but people have slightly gone into "panic mode" over the unknown.
Tesco Ireland confirmed that they will have a 20% increase in fresh bread available, and insure additional stock of fresh dairy for those "bulk buying" on essentials.
Don't forget you can tweet us your Storm Emma questions and pictures @IrishCentral.