An empty car park at the National Technology Park in Plassey | PICTURE: Michael Cowhey
LIMERICK people are being urged to heed government warnings to be indoors by 4pm this Thursday as a status red snow/ice warning remains in place.
The warning was extended by Met Éireann at 11pm on Wednesday with forecasters warning the worst of the weather can be expected in Limerick early this Thursday evening and overnight.
Commuter routes across Limerick were eerily quiet this Thursday morning as all schools, colleges and educational institutions remain closed.
No Bus Eireann services are running and Iarnród Éireann services will wind down from midday. All Local Link Limerick transport services have also been cancelled.
While many businesses and retailers had indicated they would close around lunchtime, some have already closed as a result of the revised status red alert.
One of the country’s largest retailers, Dunnes Stores, announced it was closing all of its stores shortly after 9am and signs were erected on doors with customers already inside some stores.
Troops are on standby at Sarsfield Barracks to provide assistance if required and emergency services across the city and county are also on standby.
One of the Limerick units 4x4 currently on standby to provide support where necessary since early morning. Well done all@limerickpost @Limerick_Leader @ilovelimerick @Live95fmNews pic.twitter.com/CyJNH9gzkp— Order of Malta IE (@OrderofMaltaIRL) March 1, 2018
While main roads have been gritted, motorists are being urged to excercise caution – especially on local and regional roads.
The HSE Mid West says all routine Community Healthcare services across Clare Limerick and North Tipperary are deferred for Thursday and Friday.
However, the most essential homecare and community nursing services are being prioritised for delivery to older people and people with disabilities.
“Every effort is being made to maintain critical services in the home to complex paediatric cases and adults with high dependency,” said a spokesperson.
All public residential hospitals and units for the elderly, disabled and those with a mental health condition remain open.
The UL Hospitals group says it has estricted services to essential and emergency for the period and is making contact with people for whom special arrangements and continuity of service needs to be maintained.
Outpatients appts/elective surgery cancelled across @ULHospitals on Thurs/Fri following @MetEireann Status Red Alert Emergency services run as normal See statement below for full details and contact numbers for UHL, Maternity, Ennis, Nenagh, StJohns, Croom https://t.co/nRVtS2DCJ1— UL Hospitals (@ULHospitals) February 28, 2018
Shannon Airport, meanwhile, remains fully operational with airport staff working through last night to keep the runway operational.
Services are operating normally, with the airport’s first flights to Stansted and Heathrow departing on time.
The inbound Aer Lingus Boston flight landed on time, while the Norwegian, Newburgh flight is expected to arrive at 10.20am.
The inbound and outbound Shannon service to Edinburgh (EI3675/72) has been cancelled.
Shannon Airport has confirmed it handled 20 flight diversions from Dublin and Cork Airports starting from 04.20 yesterday morning until midnight last night.
“We are currently managing weather challenges and will continue to monitor the evolving conditions over the coming days. We have a 24 hour team in place at airport to minimise the expected severe weather conditions later today from Storm Emma. Shannon Airport is advising passengers intending to fly from, or travel to, Shannon Airport to contact theirrelevant airline or look at their website before travelling to Shannon Airport today,” said a spokesperson.