The Big Chill of 2018

Remembering Storm Emma and the Beast from the East six years on

With temperatures hitting near minus values, Status Yellow rain and ice warnings and snowfall affecting some parts of the country, it's worth a reminder of where we were this time six years ago.

The country ground to a virtual halt as Storm Emma teamed up with the Beast from the East - as they were coined - to create record levels of snow causing havoc over a two-week period.

Thousands of homes and businesses around the county suffered power outages after winds and snow accumulations on electricity lines caused outages, with over 3,000 premises being cut off in Navan alone. The outage lasted a number of days as the ESB repair crews were hampered from repairing the lines due to the poor conditions.

As many as 30,000 people in Meath also had to contend with water shortages as Irish Water was forced to implement restrictions on services due to leaks caused by frozen lines. The limitations on services lasted until March 9, almost two full weeks after the start of the storm.

While the "Beast from the East" will be remembered for the 10 foot snow drifts which brought the country to a virtual standstill, an arguably more memorable aspect of the storm was the food shortages which gripped the nation and sent us into spiral of panic buying commodities.

Other items such as vegetables, steaks, stewing beef and milk as well as bottles of whiskey, coffee and cream also proved to be very popular with customers. Apart from all the disruptions it caused the Beast also brought out the best of the people of Meath.

A perfect example of this was the wedding of Kilmessan man Eric Horan and Sian Williams. The wedding was rescued after locals in Kilmessan rallied around to clear snow and ferry the wedding parties to and from the church, with the help of Trim Fire Services. Costello's Centra Shop put out a call on their Facebook page for help and local 4X4 drivers answered a call to drive the newly-weds and their guests through the blizzards to the Trim Castle Hotel, some 10kms away. Trim Fire Services also turned out to escort the happy couple to their reception.

Meanwhile, tonight, lingering rain and sleet in eastern counties will become patchy and gradually clear. Elsewhere will be dry with clear spells at first but scattered showers will spread from the north later, some heavy with a chance of hail and sleet in the northwest. Frost and icy stretches developing with lowest temperatures of -1 to +3 degrees. Moderate to fresh northerly winds, strong on western and northern coasts.

Tomorrow morning, frost and ice will slowly clear. There will be a mix of sunny spells and showers through the day, some heavy. Showers will mainly be of rain but a few will possibly fall as hail, sleet and snow in the west and north. Afternoon highs of 5 to 8 degrees. Moderate to fresh northerly winds, strong and gusty in west Connacht and west Munster at times.