(Photo: Cian Power)
Munster, Leinster, and parts of Connaught are currently facing extreme weather conditions as Snowstorm Emma crosses the nation. From Cork City to Waterford, nowhere was spared from the snowfall. Met Éireann has issued a red snow-ice warning at 11am on Wednesday morning, valid in both Munster and Leinster from 4pm to Friday at noon. Conditions are expected to worsen during Wednesday and Thursday night, with blizzard-like conditions, heavy snow, and strong easterly winds. The people of Munster and Leinster are told to stay indoors from 4pm today.
The UCC Main Campus was covered in white when an emergency meeting was called at 9am. At around 10:40, Nora Geary, head of the Emergency Management Team in UCC, notified students and staff that UCC will be closed from 3pm until Saturday. Normal activity is expected to resume on Saturday the 3rd. CIT has been closed since 1pm, as well as all the other colleges in the city. All the schools in Munster and Leinster have also been shut down.
The city centre, thanks to effective gritting, was not severely affected by the ice during the afternoon. Bright spells often overcame the snow, making it seem as if the storm did not exist. Walking into other parts of town however proved more treacherous; Barrack Street in particular was icy, with people falling over and having trouble walking. Multiple cars slipped and briefly blocked the road, as drivers paused to regain confidence in their driving. The shops, still open in the afternoon, saw hordes of people rushing to gather necessities from practically empty shelves.
Other affected areas include Carrigaline – buses from Carrigaline did not operate from the early morning, as the roads were impassable. Snowfall has been ongoing throughout the day, except for an hour of sunshine around midday. Leaving Cork, Cobh is also experiencing very heavy snowfall, with most roads being dangerous to use. Watergrasshill has been mostly unaffected, except for some light snow and blizzard-like winds which did not impact the roads.
The N25 has been gritted in the afternoon, making travel surprisingly smooth. The most dangerous part of the journey begins as one enters Youghal, one of the most hard-hit areas in the county. The town centre is shut down, as roads and pathways are covered in ice. An average of 6 inches of snow could be seen even on the outskirts of the town. The wind howled at 5pm as children took advantage of the last few practical hours to slide on makeshift snowboards and partake in snowball fights.
Speaking to the Express, a resident of Youghal who’s studying in WIT stated that Waterford city was generally unaffected in the morning, although buses serving the city were cancelled. She told us that another route had to be used to travel from Waterford to Youghal, but that the roads, as of this morning, were usable until Youghal. Shops in the town were also emptied by worried consumers, a worker for Youghal Spar told us. No bread could be found in the store at 4:30pm.
Bus Éireann services were disrupted today, although the large majority of routes were still running during the day to bring commuters back home before the complete shutdown of services tomorrow. The most affected lines mostly experienced delays or a reduced number of stops. No buses will run tomorrow in Munster and Leinster. List of services running in other areas can be found at buseireann.ie. Iarnrod Éireann services to Cobh, Midleton and Mallow were similarly affected, with the Cobh & Midleton lines operating hourly until 1/1:15pm on Thursday, with services not expected to continue until 12pm on Friday. For all info, please consult IrishRail.ie before travelling.
Met Éireann have advised people to remain indoors from 4pm tomorrow at the latest, and to only travel if necessary.