Almost 24,000 homes and businesses across Ireland are without power amid one of the worst winter storms the country has experienced for decades. Much of the country heeded warnings to stay indoors amid extreme weather conditions overnight.
Sub-zero temperatures led to extremely dangerous road conditions and virtually all public transport was cancelled, with flights at Dublin Airport suspended until Saturday. All Dublin Bus, Luas and Irish Rail services are suspended.
Dublin fire brigade reported trees being down, a roof collapse and poor conditions on the roads, with their own vehicles struggling to get through the snow drifts.
A Status Red alert will remain in place in Leinster, Munster and Galway until 6pm today. However, a public safety notice for people around the country to stay indoors has been withdrawn this morning.
“As expected [the storm] moved up across country and brought and is continue to bring strong easterly winds,” Gerry Murphy of Met Eireann told RTE radio.
“As well as that as it met the cold air it brought snow up over parts of Leinster and Ulster.”
Cold air from the east clashed with warmer collided with strong winds from the south east to produce snow of up to 60cm in depth, although a meter of snow could yet fall on the country, according to forecasts.
“There will be continuation of that snowfall as we go through the day. Leinster and Munster will continue get the bulk of that snow,” Mr Murphy said. “The winds will continue quite strong along the coast”.
A number of people became stuck in their cars overnight when blizzards hit making roads impassable and visibility was reduced to zero. People remained stuck in their vehicles across Dublin.
“It seems some people may have left the city late in the day yesterday, and judged local conditions in town as being manageable, but as they got out of the city to where conditions were worse they got stuck,” said a garda spokesman.
Last night a total of 115 homeless people were allocated beds in the Extreme Cold Weather Accommodation in the sports centre in Dublin’s South Inner City according to the Peter McVerry Trust.
Some 21 people were found to be sleeping rough despite the extreme conditions. The team managed to persuade six to use the emergency shelter.