News Weather

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Storm Emma: Emergency plans in place for potential widespread school closures

  • 116,000 school bus users not being able to make it to school could have a 'domino effect'
  • Likelihood of closures is highest in the east of the country but there’s a possibility it will go nationwide
  • Department of Education and Skills will be continuously monitoring the weather situation over the next 48 hours
Evelyn Cusack, Deputy Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann, speaking to media following a meeting of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group (NECG), to discuss arrangements for the anticipated severe cold weather this week at the National Emergency Co-ordination Centre, Agriculture House, Kildare St, Dublin. Photo Gareth Chaney Collins
Evelyn Cusack, Deputy Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann, speaking to media following a meeting of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group (NECG), to discuss arrangements for the anticipated severe cold weather this week at the National Emergency Co-ordination Centre, Agriculture House, Kildare St, Dublin. Photo Gareth Chaney Collins
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Emergency plans are being put in place for widespread schools closures on Thursday and Friday, Independent.ie understands.

Ahead of the arrival of ‘The Beast from the East’, school transport chiefs have been warned that heavy snow could lead to all services being suspended.

The move would result in 116,000 school bus users not being able to make it to school and have a “domino effect”.

“If it looks like we’re going to a ‘Status Red’ situation on Thursday then all school transport will stop,” said a source.

They added that if this happens it’s very likely that most or all of the schools in the country will close.

There is no special dispensation for schools that close due to weather related incidents, meaning teachers and pupils could have to make up the time later in the year.

Met Éireann’s warning map
Met Éireann’s warning map

All schools closed for at least a day during Hurricane Ophelia in October and some also had to turn students away as a result of flooding in November and December.

A number of ‘snow days’ could result in some schools having to delay the start of the summer holidays or take away from scheduled days off in the coming months.

Sources told Independent.ie that the likelihood of closures is highest in the east of the country but there’s a possibility it will go nationwide.

“During Ophelia a decision was taken to close all schools in order to offer certainty. That could happen again,” a source said.

In the initial stages it is expected that decisions will be made at a local level.

The Department of Education and Skills will be continuously monitoring the weather situation over the next 48 hours.

The National Emergency Coordination Group was told today that if schools close it will have a “domino effect” on the country.

It is likely that childcare facilities would follow, and with parents unable to go to the work it’s possibly that some businesses will close too.

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 contact@independent.ie or Whatsapp to 0871847169

Met Eireann warned of widespread frost and icy conditions. Parts of the country are set to feel colder than the Arctic Circle with temperatures set to plummet to -10C.

A snow-ice alert has been issued for Dublin, Carlow, Kildare, Laois, Louth, Wicklow and Meath from Tuesday, with up to 6cm of snow expected to accumulate by Wednesday morning.

Kilkenny, Longford, Wexford, Offaly, Westmeath, Cork, Tipperary and Waterford are also expected to see scattered snow showers but accumulations are forecast to be lower than parts of Leinster.

As well as the warnings about snow fall, there is also a status yellow low temperature warning for the entire country with lows of -5C expected on Monday night.

Conditions are expected to be similar to that of the 2010 and 1982 cold snaps.

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