Met Éireann has issued a STATUS RED weather warning #BeastFromTheEast
After a night of heavy snowfall in many parts of the country Met Éireann issued a Status Red weather warning around 06:00 on Wednesday morning.
The Status Red snow-ice warning is initially for Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Wicklow and Meath valid until 12:00pm on Thursday.
The warning states that there has been between 5 and 10cm accumulations of snow in these areas and snow showers will continue to occur during today and again tonight with further accumulations. Total snowfall up to midday Thursday may reach 25cm in some areas.
There was heavy snowfall overnight in Laois and a Status Orange snow-ice warning remains in place until 11:00am on Wednesday.
Severe Weather Warning issued for Snow/Ice— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) February 28, 2018
Location: Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Wicklow and Meath
Valid: Wed 5am to Thurs 12pm
Warning updates will be issued in due course
Latest information here:https://t.co/X6NncUghZ9 pic.twitter.com/rWhZ3kTAu8
A Red level alert is the highest warning that can be issued. It implies that people take action to protect themselves and their properties. This could include moving families out of the danger zone temporarily, staying indoors or taking specific actions to mitigate the effects of weather conditions i.e. sandbags to prevent flooding, gritting for icy driveways etc.
What does that mean for schools and businesses?
The Department of Education ordered all schools and colleges to close as a safety precaution during Storm Ophelia in October 2017. Many businesses across Ireland also closed for the day.
During extreme weather, the decision to close a business is ultimately down to the employer.
What is the criteria for a Status Red warning?
Significant falls of snow likely to cause accumulations of 8 cm or greater. Slippery paths and roads due to accumulation of ice on untreated surfaces; situation likely to worsen.
Low temperatures of -10C or lower expected. Max of minus 2C or lower expected.
Schools will make decisions on whether they need to close during this week's winter storm but school transport services will not operate if there is a level red weather warning.
A Department of Education representative issued the advice at a the National Emergency Co-ordination Group press conference in Dublin.
A Department of Education representative said a protocol in place in the event of severe whether conditions. He said each school will make a decision on whether or not to close based on 'local conditions'.
He said such decisions would not be made based on whether a school is located in a county that is under a severe weather warning. However, he said under a code Red bus transport would not operate.
"We are going to issue advisories to all schools which say that if a Status Red is issued then obviously school transport is gone then they will make their decisions based on that," he said.