Saturday 23 June 2018

Schools across the country could be forced to close as Ireland braces for the 'Beast from the East'

Children build a snowman in the Killakee area of the Dublin mountains. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Children build a snowman in the Killakee area of the Dublin mountains. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Schools across the country could be forced to close later in the week as the country braces for heavy snow.

Temperatures will plunge to as low as -10C this week as a vast weather front from the Russian Arctic, dubbed the ‘Beast from the East’, sweeps across Ireland.

A young priest throws a snow ball during a heavy snowfall in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi
A young priest throws a snow ball during a heavy snowfall in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi
Tourists walk and take pictures in the central Via dei Fori during a snowfall in Rome on February 26, 2018 AFP/Getty Images
A man feeds pigeons during a heavy snowfall in Sofia on February 26, 2018. / AFP PHOTO
A woman with a child walks dogs during a heavy snowfall in Sofia on February 26, 2018. / AFP PHOTO /
Saint Peter's Basilica is seen in the background as people enjoy the snow following a heavy snowfall at the Circus Maximus in Rome, Italy February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Commuters walking in the snow on London Bridge, as some parts of the UK are set to feel colder than the Arctic Circle as freezing temperatures continue into the week ahead Steve Parsons/PA Wire
A priest plays with snow during a heavy snowfall in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi
A monument is covered by snow during a heavy snowfall in Rome, Italy February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
A young priest throws a snow ball during a heavy snowfall in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi
Women and children walk on the stone-block pavement in central Moscow, Russia February 25, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
People walk during a heavy snowfall in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi
People make their way across the Millennium Bridge, in central London, in windy conditions as freezing air from Russia is to grip the UK in what is set to be the coldest late February in five years. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Commuters walking in the snow on London Bridge, as some parts of the UK are set to feel colder than the Arctic Circle as freezing temperatures continue into the week ahead. Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Trevi fountain is covered in snow during a heavy snowfall in Rome, Italy February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
People walk during a heavy snowfall in downtown Rome, Italy February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi
A man skis during a heavy snowfall in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi
Nuns walk during a heavy snowfall in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi

The Government will convene a meeting of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group (NECG) today given the seriousness of the threat posed by the approaching weather system.

The front is set to sweep over Ireland with snow, ice, sleet showers and temperatures as low as -10C – but a wind chill factor will make it feel even colder.

The Department of Education said schools would be monitored daily as snow sweeps across the country.

“In the event of a Status Red warning, decisions are made locally on closures. But the department will follow any advice from the National Emergency Co-ordination Group,” a spokesperson said.

A young priest throws a snow ball during a heavy snowfall in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi
A young priest throws a snow ball during a heavy snowfall in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi

Sean Hogan, chairperson of the National Emergency Committee, told RTÉ Radio one that the objective is to keep schools open.

"When the snow falls now it won't melt away like it did in December. We expect the snow will stay on the ground and cause difficulty for people.

"We will try keep Ireland moving ... we're not sure what will come and there will be some uncertainty. It will deteriorate from tomorrow and that snow will accumulate. Our job is to prepare for that and make sure all the arrangements are in place."

While schools are open today, Mr Hogan said that schools may close towards the end of the week.

People walk during a heavy snowfall in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi
People walk during a heavy snowfall in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Max Rossi

"We will be joined by our education colleagues today (at the National Emergency Committee meeting). Because this is going to vary across the country, individual schools will have to make their own decisions based on advice.

"The Department of Education will attend our meeting and they will pass on advice to the schools and the schools will make their own decision. They will then issue a statement to parents locally about whether schools are open or not.

"Our objective is to try and keep schools open as much as possible until we see what happens on Thursday and Friday. That depends on local conditions."

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