School in some eastern areas will not open tomorrow

Schools in Wexford, West Wicklow and North Kildare are unlikely to re-open tomorrow.

The National Emergency Coordination Group met one again this morning as snows begin to melt around the country.

In a press conference following the meeting the group warned that it will not be a case of “back to normality” tomorrow.

The chairman of the group Sean Hogan said decisions on reopening schools around the country will be taken on a case-by-case basis.

“Schools in areas where it is feasible have been checking their premises today and linking with school bus operators in order to make decisions about opening tomorrow,” he said.

“This is being done on a case by case basis and decisions will be communicated to parents in each case.

“However from the reports we have, it seems very unlikely to us that - in the conditions in the areas worst affected, such as Wexford, west Wicklow and north Kildare - that it will be possible for schools to open.”

Meanwhile, Irish Water has admitted it is struggling to meet demand in many areas around the country.

Managing Director Jerry Grant says the number of restrictions in place has risen significantly since this morning:

"We currently have restrictions applying in 126,000 [homes]," he said.

"That is up to over from over 60,000 earlier.

"This is happening in Donegal, Galway, east Meath and the Ratoath area; Athlone, south Leitrim and west Cork.

"I suppose the big point of note overnight has been an increase across the country of water demand of 10% to 20% as the thaw took hold.

"That, clearly, is a reflection of leakage on service pipes."

He said the affected households will face reduced water pressure until the restricions are lifted. 

He said 18,000 homes were without water overnight, adding that the utility has now brought that number down to 11,500.

Meanwhile, Dublin could be facing the prospect of water pressure reductions and night-time restrictions. 

The Greater Dublin Area saw a 10% increase in demand from Friday to Sunday – with storage dropping by 30 million litres.

The utility has warned that, if the depleting levels are not reversed, the city could be facing pressure reductions and the possibility of night-time restrictions. 

Mr Grant said the Dublin area saw a surge of 60 million litres a day "compared to the normal daily usage."

"Which is more than we can produce," he said.

"All our plants in the greater Dublin area are flat out to produce 580 million litres last night.

"It will be difficult to maintain that as raw water quality in the rivers dis-improves."

File photo of the Poulaphouca Reservoir. Image: Mark Stedman/RollingNews

The worst of the extreme weather has now passed, however Met Éireann has now extended its status orange warning for Leinster, Cavan, Monaghan, Cork, Tipperary and Waterford. 

The forecast has warned that the melting snow could lead to some to localized flooding –“especially in the smaller mountainous catchments and in urban areas.”

ESB teams will be working to restore power to affected homes throughout the day.

Some 4,500 people are still without power - with the vast majority of those affected in Wexford.

Meanwhile the majority of public transport is returning to normal as the big thaw sets in.