Storm Emma: Everything you need to know as Government warns of 'serious and life-threatening' blizzard conditions
The expected blizzard conditions due over the next couple of days will be "serious and life-threatening", the Government's emergency taskforce warned this afternoon after Met Eireann issued their highest weather warning.
Many parts of the country woke up to a blanket of snow after the 'Beast from the East' reached Ireland and up to 25cm more is expected to fall overnight.
Met Eireann has placed a Status Red snow-ice alert in place from 5am this morning until midday tomorrow for Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Wicklow and Meath.
Following the widespread closures of schools and businesses today, as well as chaos for commuters, here are the latest updates for what's expected to happen over the next 24 hours.
Everyone in Munster and Leinster has been advised to stay indoors after 4pm on Thursday
Everyone in Munster and Leinster is advised to be indoors by 4pm on Thursday and to stay there until midday on Friday by the The National Emergency Coordination Committee.
Met Eireann has said: "Blizzard-like conditions will develop in heavy snow and strong easterly winds on Thursday evening and will continue Thursday night and Friday morning."
All schools, colleges and third level institutions in red areas will remain closed tomorrow and Friday
The Government has confirmed that schools, colleges and third level institutions in Leinster and Munster will remain closed for the rest of the week, following the issuing of a red Weather Warning by Met Eireann.
The decision over whether to close schools in Connacht and Ulster will be kept under "constant review" and will be determined based on local weather circumstances.
Childcare facilities have also been advised to stay closed.
Read more about school closures here.
Flights and ferry services have experienced significant disruptions
Ryanair has cancelled all flights to and from Dublin Airport for the rest of today at least, while Aer Lingus confirmed they are looking at "very significant cancellations."
Cork Airport was closed for some time this morning but has since reopened.
Shannon Airport is operating as normal but a spokesperson has urged passengers to monitor its Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Irish Ferries has also cancelled several services for today and tomorrow.
For more about transport, please visit here.
Many public transport services won't be running tomorrow
There will be commuter chaos in the capital as Dublin Bus has announced they won't be running tomorrow.
There will also be no bus services in Munster or Leinster.
Irish Rail will run in the morning but will begin an orderly close down for the entire country between 12pm and 2pm.
Luas services will also be limited.
For more on public transport, please visit here.
Fuel allowance will be doubled in the coming week
As temperatures continue to plummet, the fuel allowance paid to over 300,000 households will be doubled over the coming week from €22.50 weekly to €45.
Social Protection Minister said that her Department will ensure that people are looked after during the cold snap.
"Anybody who needs to get money will get that," she said.
For more information on the increase in fuel allowance during Storm Emma, please click here.
The HSE has cancelled some non-essential services
The HSE said this morning that their "winter plan is in place" but that their national and local services are likely to be impacted by the weather.
impact of the weather conditions”.
Tallaght Hospital has cancelled adult and paediatric outpatient clinics, surgery on waiting list patients, routine procedures and blood tests have been cancelled.
Patients required to attend Tallaght Hospital for urgent appointments / procedures will be contacted directly.
For more information on the HSE during Storm Emma, please visit here.
Some Government Departments will close
It has been confirmed that Government departments, office and agencies that aren't involved in providing essential services will close on Thursday and Friday in Leinster and Munster.
Keep safe and warm, but if you are out in Storm Emma we'd love to see your photos and videos. Send by email to email@example.com or Whatsapp to 0871847169