The Beast from the East is on the way, and people are being urged to prepare for some heavy snow and freezing conditions this week.
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has already said a status red weather warning is likely later this week, with a status orange snow-ice warning already in place for Dublin from 3pm today.
Here's a few practical tips to keep in mind over the coming days:
Elderly people should not venture outdoors in severe weather if possible.
People are asked to call in on elderly relatives and neighbours - particularly those living alone - and make sure they have enough food or any prescription medicines they may need.
Make sure they also have sufficient fuel supplies to maintain adequate heating in their homes.
Do you have Vulnerable family, friends or neighbours?
âœ” Plenty of fuel/credit for prepay
âœ” Supply of food and water
âœ” Supply of medications
âœ” Smoke/CO alarm
âœ” Mobile phone and charger
âœ” Someone to rely on for helphttps://t.co/xcaScS9r3O #BeastFromTheEast pic.twitter.com/I15gLzO12U
— Dublin Fire Brigade (@DubFireBrigade) February 26, 2018
Minister for the Elderly, Jim Daly, is urging pensioners to "take care and light the fire up early during the current big freeze".
On cost concerns, Minister Daly says there are a range of welfare schemes available which ensures pensioners can stock up on fuel before the cold snap fully bites.
He explained: "Shivering behind a single electric bar will be penny wise and pound foolish. When it comes to weather such as this thrift is not an option.
"Pensioners who live at home should keep the heat going for twenty-four hours. Put your health and safety first - a warm fire or a hot radiator is a basic entitlement
"Extra spending on fuel is covered by many schemes. If money is a problem, you can take advantage of current welfare schemes".
Special provisions have been put in place for homeless people and rough sleepers, to ensure accommodation & shelter is available throughout the big freeze.
Charities such as the Simon Community say their rough sleeper teams will operate day & night during the expected big freeze.
Anyone who does see anyone sleeping outside is being urged to get in touch with homeless groups.
It's a freezing cold monday night and the #ICHH outreach teams are on the streets of Dublin. Please call us on 085-8389281 if you see someone sleeping outside in the cold tonight. #BeastFromTheEast #HomelessnessIsNotNormal #AskWhy #MyNameis pic.twitter.com/8eqRBtz9zW
— ICHHDUBLIN (@ICHHDUBLIN) February 26, 2018
People are being advised that clearing snow from footpaths can be demanding work, and to only undertake it if they are reasonably fit and do not have an underlying medical condition.
They are advised to wear sturdy, insulated and waterproof footwear with good gripping soles, and to use a shovel.
Make a path down the middle of the area being cleared so that you will have a clear surface to walk on.
Never use boiling water to clear snow - as it may re-freeze and cause the formation of black ice.
Current temperatures 0 to -5°C. Light wintry showers in the Irish Sea reaching the east coast this morning. Scattered light wintry showers will move westwards across the country today.
Snow showers will develop more readily across the east of Leinster again later in the day. pic.twitter.com/sWllQfTOIG
— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) February 27, 2018
People can also prevent ice forming by spreading salt on the area that they have cleared.
When clearing snow, it is important not create an obstacle for pedestrians or traffic.
The Office of the Attorney-General has advised that liability does not arise when snow is cleared from footpaths in a safe manner.
People should also have a small supply of non perishable, easy-to-prepare foods and keep an extra supply of essential medication in case it is difficult to get to the pharmacy.
They should also have an adequate supply of fuel for heating/cooking and - if possible - a suitable alternative in case the the main supply fails.
Homes should also have batteries for torches in the event of power cuts.
The Road Safety authority is urging drivers to take measures to ensure their cars are ready for the weather, including making sure that:
- Their tyres are roadworthy, inflated to the correct pressure and the thread depth is above the legal minimum of 1.6mm.
- Vehicle lights are clean and working properly.
- Windscreen wipers are not worn and there is de-icer in their windshield washing fluid and it is advisable to have an ice scraper handy
- They are familiar with any safety assist features on their vehicle e.g. ABS, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Traction Control which help in the event of a skid.
- Drivers are advised to carry a number of essentials in the boot of their car including a high visibility vest, appropriate footwear, a hazard warning triangle, de-icing equipment, a first aid kit, a working torch, a blanket, additional clothing & some food and water.
Met Eireann have issued an orange warning for scattered snow showers for D, CW, KE, LS, LH, WW and MH from 3pm on Tuesday until 11am on Wednesday. This may result in 4 to 6cm of snow. Widespread frost and ice are also forecast. #TravelWithCare #BeWinterReady #BeastFromTheEast pic.twitter.com/imzCzk6Lop
— RSA Ireland (@RSAIreland) February 26, 2018
When driving, motorists are being urged to remove all snow from their vehicle before setting off.
Drivers are urged to slow down in snowy or icy conditions, and to use fog lights in heavy snow.
More tips are available here.
Pedestrians, meanwhile, are being urged to wear high-visibility, appropriate clothing, and to not underestimate the dangers when walking on ice.
ESB Networks say they are on "full levels of preparedness" for extreme weather later this week.
The utility says: "The electricity network is built, and continually upgraded, to withstand events such as these, but extreme weather, heavy snowfalls and freezing temperatures can affect underground and overhead electricity cables and wires.
"We can confirm that all planned outages have been cancelled for this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and will be rescheduled at a later date."
People are being asked never to approach or touch any fallen wires, or the tree or branch fallen wires are touching.
Anyone who encounters such situations is being asked to call 1850-372-999.
— ESB Networks (@ESBNetworks) February 26, 2018
While crews will be dispatched, ESB Networks warn that heavy snows may impede access to damaged infrastructure, so outages may take longer than usual to repair.
Customers without power can check for updates here or on the PowerCheck App.
If a fault is not logged you can report it here - or if you have no internet access, you can call 1850-372-999.
People with pets are being reminded to take care of their animals during the coming week.
— Dogs Trust Ireland (@DogsTrust_IE) February 26, 2018
Some simple things to remember are:
- Bring pets inside if you can
- If you cannot bring them inside make sure that they have extra bedding - rabbits with extra straw, dogs in kennels with extra blankets, etc...
- Make sure they have access to fresh and unfrozen water
- Move horses closer to access points and put out extra feed
The DSPCA says just because a pet has a warm fur coat does not mean it cannot feel the cold.