Status Orange warning issued as 'Beast from the East' threatens freezing conditions

The National Emergency Coordination Group is due to meet this morning

Status Orange warning issued as 'Beast from the East' threatens freezing conditions

The River Liffey in the Wicklow Mountains, 07-02-2018. Image: Eamonn Farell/RollingNews

Updated 11:15

The National Emergency Coordination Group is due to meet this morning with parts of the country set to be hit by freezing temperatures.

The so-called 'Beast from the East' cold weather movement is expected to bring freezing temperatures, with the worst conditions in the south and east.

A Status Orange snow and ice warning will come into force for many parts of Leinster this afternoon – with snow accumulations of 4cm to 6cm by tomorrow morning.

A Status Yellow warning will come into force across the south east of the country later in the evening with accumulations of up to 3cm in parts.

Travel

Drivers are being warned to take extra care on the roads due to the icy conditions - with the RSA urging motorists to check their tyres before setting off.

The worst of the weather is not due until Thursday when Storm Emma could bring blizzard conditions.

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has called on the public to pay heed to the weather warnings:

“I would ask people to pay close attention to any weather warnings and advice that is issued in the coming days,” he said.

“Where advice is issued in relation to workplaces and travel that will be clear.

“We will either be asking people to stay at home and not make unnecessary journeys or if they are already in work to stay in work and not make unnecessary journeys.”

Elderly

Communities around the country are being urged to look out for elderly and vulnerable neighbours as the cold snap sets in.

It is feared some older people may not be able to get out to buy food and fuel due to snow and ice.

People are due to find out this afternoon how they will be reimbursed if they need to buy extra fuel.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy says there have been previous emergency social welfare schemes:

“I think it is very important that people have enough heating in place,” he said.

“We will make sure that we have clear communication coming out this afternoon as to how we might be able to reimburse people if they have found that they have an exceptional need to buy that fuel; if they haven’t been able to make those payments.”

Vulnerable

Minister for Rural and Community Development is Michael Ring:

“The most important thing now is about people themselves,” he said.

“People being safe; people being careful; people being looked after and particularly elderly people and vulnerable people that are living alone.

“That we give them help and support in this very serious crisis that we are promised over the next number of days.”

Homeless

Meanwhile, charities and agencies working with the homeless say they are drawing on the experience gained during Storm Ophelia – with increased bed capacity to ensure everyone can get off the street.

Drop-in centres are also being kept open throughout the day.

Minister Murphy said the homeless are being prioritised, with rough sleeper teams working to get people off the streets.

“We have extra outreach teams out there going out and trying to convince people to come in,” he said.

“There is a website called homelessdublin.ie where we would ask people to get in touch if they have seen someone and they are worried that they haven’t been contacted yet.

“We have put in place an additional 104 emergency beds – that is on top of the permanent beds that we put in place, the 200 prior to Christmas.

“We have one of our partner organisations, the Peter McVerry Trust, ready with a sports facility to convert it an emergency shelter if it is needed.”

Niamh Randall from the Simon Communities said it is a co-ordinated effort:

“It is very much a partnership approach with service providers all working together and working with local authority and statutory services,” she said.

“We actually, I suppose, had the experience last year with Storm Ophelia where everybody came together and worked really effectively to make sure people were kept safe.

Yesterday the Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy warned that there is the potential for a Status Red warning to be issued in the South and East of the country by the end of the week.